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WILL AN ELECTION-YEAR CONGRESS LIFT THE EXEMPTION?
Published September 21, 1994
The House Judiciary Committee holds hearings tomorrow on baseball's antitrust exemption. A bill currently before the House would lift the exemption if the owners were to unilaterally impose a cap. Harvard Law prof. Paul Weiler: "This is an issue that's been in the Congress for 40 years, but I think it's a real possibility this time. Especially if it looks like there's going to be no baseball next year, lifting the exemption could become a politically attractive move." Former Commissioner Fay Vincent: "Basketball and football are doing just fine without an antitrust exemption. It's convenient for baseball to have it. I don't think it's critical" (Bill Falk, N.Y. NEWSDAY, 9/20). In Washington, Shirley Povich writes there is "some prospect now [Congress] will get off its butt and take a swipe at the thing" (WASHINGTON POST, 9/21). COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION: The most recent CNN/USA TODAY/GALLUP poll found 41% say they will be as interested in baseball if the MLB uses replacement players, with 23% more interested. 43% favor the owners' position, 27% back the players. Overall, baseball has dropped as favorite sport from 21% to 16% since August (USA TODAY, 9/21). For another independent survey on baseball, see #24.