Michael Crowley has been hearing about plans for a new baseball-only stadium in Oakland, Calif., since his boyhood days as a sports fan in the Bay Area.

Now, as team president and partial owner of the Athletics, he is the one planning a good part of it -- envisioning everything from the width of seats to number of entrances to dimensions for the training room, as the team attempts to move ahead with its optimistic idea for an intimate ballpark the A's believe would give the city a much-needed boost.

"It's a necessity," said GM Billy Beane, also a part owner. "We've got to get it done. It's not something that's going to solve itself."

Mayor Jerry Brown long has been a skeptic about the need for a new stadium in Oakland, where many residents are more concerned with improving schools, increasing police and fire resources and bettering roads.

The A's, meanwhile, would like to have the project moving forward by the start of the 2006 season.

New A's owner Lewis Wolff and his partners plan to finance most of the construction themselves, spending an estimated $300 million to $400 million, then pay it off with investments in what they hope becomes a booming neighborhood surrounding the stadium -- with restaurants, shopping, condominiums and a hotel.

If Wolff doesn't get his way, he ultimately might opt to move the team.

* RED SOX WIN FLIP: Boston won a coin flip yesterday and would host the Indians if the teams finish with the same record and a tiebreaker playoff is needed to determine the AL wild-card team.

* HATCHER SUSPENDED: Angels hitting coach Mickey Hatcher was suspended for one game and fined for his actions during a game on Sept. 8 in Boston. The penalty was imposed by Bob Watson, vice president of on-field operations for Major League Baseball.

Manager Mike Scioscia and Hatcher were ejected after Orlando Cabrera was called out for leaving second base early on a fly ball -- replays indicated he did not leave too soon.

* ATTENDANCE MARK: Minor league baseball games drew a record 41.3 million fans this season, setting an attendance mark for the second straight year. The 176 teams in 15 affiliated leagues drew 41,333,279 during the regular season. The Pacific Coast League became the first league to top 7 million.

-- From News Services