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IT'S THE BOTTOM OF THE NINTH FOR BASEBALL '94
Published September 14, 1994
According to all reports this morning, Acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig will cancel the season, including the World Series, sometime this afternoon. ESPN's Jimmy Roberts: "Many of those who have been here in New York to participate in meetings over the last few days packed their bags and headed home." ESPN's Dan Patrick: "Barring a unlikely appearance from a voice of reason, you will hear the voice of doom ... when the Acting Commissioner says, 'thanks for the memories'" ("SportsCenter," 9/13). The season will end "with a news release and a telephone call" (Jayson Stark, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 9/14). CONFIRMATION: Baseball's owners received a resolution from Selig via fax calling for them to support the decision to cancel the World Series. Selig's resolution blames the MLBPA for "creating a negotiating stalemate," saying the union "has consistently refused to bargain with the clubs concerning a division of industry revenues with the players." The resolution asks for the signatures of the other owners. As of last night, there were questions as to whether Selig would be able to get the "consent" of the Orioles's Peter Angelos, the Dodgers' Peter O'Malley and the Blue Jays' Paul Beeston. But no formal vote is necessary to cancel the season (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 9/14). FEHR PLAY? Selig phoned MLBPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr last night to discuss today's announcement. Fehr: "He wanted me to sanction and agree with him that it was OK and pull down the season. I told him that if he wanted to pull down the World Series, that was Bud Selig's responsibility, not mine" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 9/14). WHAT ABOUT NEXT SEASON? Braves Player Rep Tom Glavine believes if the World Series is gone, then '95 spring training and Opening Day "are in a lot of trouble, too": "If the postseason wasn't enough incentive to get something done, there's no incentive in the off season" (Tim Tucker, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 9/14). Red Sox CEO John Harrington said negotiations must continue or the '95 season will be threatened as well: "We really have to reach an agreement by mid- to late- October, because player contract transactions (for 1995) go into full swing in early November. We don't have any time to spend sitting around" (Tom Massarotti, BOSTON HERALD, 9/14). PUBLIC RELATIONS MOVES: Both Fehr and Richard Ravitch appeared on NBC's "Today" show. But the union was "irate" that Selig apparently "shut them out" of an appearance on ABC's "Nightline." Selig was on the show with NBC's Bob Costas and baseball historian David Halberstam. Steve Fehr, Donald's brother and a union official: "We certainly talked to [ABC] and complained about it. At first, we heard they made a deal with Bud that he would come on if that was a condition. They deny that, but in effect it is the same" (Mike Fish, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 9/14). TUBE TALK: Bob Costas: "The biggest issue is trust. The owners come into these negations with a lot of baggage. The owners had a couple of years to present a coherent plan, but they didn't do it until the 11th hour." Author David Halberstam: "[The owners] sensed that the players had the bad odor of young millionaires, and that they weren't handling it very well and the fans were somewhat holding back, and they used that and they found a resonance there ("Nightline," ABC, 9/13). Royals Player Rep David Cone: "The emotion is building toward anger as we really feel there are a few owners who want to bust the union" ("Sports Tonight," CNN, 9/13).