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Finally, Denver can take the field

Long drive. Deep.

Way back.

It might be.

It could be.

Dare we believe?

Yes.

It's Denver and Miami.

Now where have we read that before?

It has been a long drive.

This has hung in the air like a major-league pop-up.

It has curved foul, then swung back fair.

Fielders have collided trying to judge its flight.

Generations have grown up and gone to war waiting for honest-to-Abner Doubleday big-league baseball to arrive in Denver.

We have sung "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" (PLEASE!!) more often than Harry Caray.

The National League officially confirmed Monday what the Rocky Mountain News' Norm Clarke reported last week: that Denver and Miami were the choices of its expansion committee to receive new franchises to begin play in 1993.

"They were obviously the two most attractive choices," said commissioner Fay Vincent. "That speaks for itself."

Obviously. So it took baseball a couple of decades to see the obvious. All is forgiven.

City officials involved in Denver's bid have treaded on eggshells to avoid making comments that might hurt the city's chances, but when Denver Mayor Federico Pena called NL president Bill White Monday to make sure he could release information about the recommendations, White gave him the "hit away" sign.

This is clearly Vincent's doing. After baseball took a public bashing for delaying its expansion decision last week, Vincent cut the American League in on the expansion money and apparently pushed the National League to cut to the chase on expansion by considering only the two recommended cities.

Vincent said Monday he expected baseball's ownership committee to vote to accept Miami and Denver at the owners meetings that begin Wednesday in Santa Monica, Calif. However, he said the full ownership vote might not occur this week.

It ought to.

Vincent has pushed expansion to the brink. There's no sense waiting for the other cleat to fall and dragging this thing out.

It's time for some old-fashioned Chicago-style democracy: stand here, vote this way, smile for the camera.

Everybody agrees it's Denver and Miami.

Let's get the required votes _ nine from the NL, eight from the AL - on record.

Play ball, Denver.

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