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MINNEAPOLIS-The Minnesota Twins have lost a plea to have the Minnesota Supreme Court review a court order that would require them to play the 2002 season at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.

Although the owners have yet to identify the two teamsthey plan to eliminate, there is speculation the Twins, Montreal Expos and thetwo Florida teams appear to be the most likelycandidates of the owners.

Last month, Hennepin County Judge Harry Crump orderedthe Twins to honor its lease and play the 2002season at the Metrodome. The case moves to thestate Appeals Court Dec. 27.

The delay leaves many questioning whether Major LeagueBaseball will be able to act on its decision toreduce the size of the league before next season–especially,if the Twins are one of the two teams on the owners’ list.

The owners face other challenges. Congress hasscheduled early December hearings to determine whetherto strip baseball of the antitrustexemption that allows it to operate as a monopoly andfree from legislative scrutiny. And the PlayersAssociation has filed a grievance over whethercontraction is legal under the expired collectivebargaining agreement.

Meanwhile, efforts are under way to assemble a groupthat would buy the Twins from current owner CarlPohlad. City and state officials are working onputting together deals to build new stadiums.

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