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ANTITRUST EXEMPTION BROUGHT BEFORE THE HOUSE TODAY
Published September 27, 1994
One of the "major confrontations" between owners and players comes today on Capitol Hill, as the House Judiciary Committee's Economic and Commercial Law Subcommittee holds hearings on baseball's antitrust exemption (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 9/22). Rep. Pat Schroeder (D-CO) expects "a lot of passion" directed at both sides. One baseball exec: "It's going to be ugly" (Steve Fainaru, BOSTON GLOBE, 9/22). In Hartford, Jack O'Connell recalls Casey Stengel's "rambling" testimony before the Senate in 1958: "Not much laughter is expected today" (HARTFORD COURANT, 9/22). SCHEDULED TO TESTIFY: Acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, MLBPA Exec Dir Don Fehr, Dodgers pitcher Orel Hershiser, NABPL VP Stanley Brand (representing the minors), author John Feinstein and Sports Fans United's Adam Kolton. Other owners, the Red Sox' John Harrington and the Rockies' Jerry McMorris are expected to attend. IS THIS THE YEAR? While Congress has often reviewed the exemption but taken no action, MLBPA officials "seem to regard this as the best chance they've ever had to get the exemption repealed, or at least limited." But House Judiciary Committee Chair Jack Brooks (D-TX) doubts Congress will take action this year: "It will probably go on into next year. But it will be right at the top of the radar screen then" (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 9/22). Rep. Jim Bunning (R-KY), a former player and co-sponsor of the bill before the House, says chances of a vote this year are slim: "On a scale of 1 to 10, it's a 2, because this is a critical election year and there are so many other critical issues" (Mike Dodd, USA TODAY, 9/22). Schroeder predicts baseball will be "very apt to see action" if next year's season seems threatened (ESPN, 9/21). "Public anguish over the players' strike and the owners' cancellation of the World Series might help focus Congress' attention" (Thomas Mulligan, L.A. TIMES, 9/22). PRO-EXEMPTION: Giants owner Peter Magowan said without the exemption the "Giants would be in Florida right now." Magowan added, "Congress doesn't have any business investing itself in the midst of a labor dispute" ("Sports Center," ESPN, 9/21). MLB's DC lobbyist Gene Callahan, comparing the movements of franchises in other sports: "Fan stability is the Number 1 reason here" ("Morning Edition," NPR, 9/22). The NABPL's Brand "will tell the committee that the minors could be devastated if baseball loses the exemption" (Thom Loverro, WASHINGTON TIMES, 9/22).