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Umpires will be allowed to work consecutive World Series

Major league owners today ratified a new labor agreement with umpires that permits the commissioner's office to assign umpires to work the World Series in consecutive years.

Under the previous agreement, umpires could not work consecutive rounds in the playoffs and consecutive years in the World Series, leaving baseball with the two best teams in the Series but not necessarily the six highest-rated umpires. The new deal allows umpires to be assigned to the World Series in two consecutive years, but not three.

Commissioner Bud Selig announced ratification of the new agreement at the conclusion of the quarterly owners' meetings today. He declined to discuss any specifics of the agreement, pending ratification by the umpires' union.

Selig also announced that Major League Baseball had donated $1 million to Haitian earthquake relief. Selig also reiterated his interest in an annual series between the winner of the World Series and Japan's league champions.

-- Bill Shaikin in Phoenix

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