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STRIKE NOTES: NOTHING TO FEHR BUT EXTRAVAGANCE ITSELF
Published September 27, 1994
MLBPA Don Fehr held his second meeting in two days with union membership, this time in Tampa. While the intended theme was another show of union solidarity, the "theatrics" of the Tigers' Lou Whitaker, who showed up in a stretch limo wearing an "electric blue" suit, "stole the spotlight." Whitaker "wasn't lambasted, but it was clear he projected an image not favored by union members" (Bill Chastain, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 9/22). Whitaker arrived "looking like he had gotten lost on his way to the MTV Awards. ... While many others questioned the message Whitaker was sending, he offered no apologies." Whitaker: "Rolls Royces, limos, big houses ... this is what the game can bring to you" (Phil Rogers, DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 9/22). It was another "chorus of rah-rah solidarity," but Bill Madden writes of the players: "Better they should start imploring [Fehr] to make a deal. ... The players have accomplished nothing by walking out with seven weeks left in the season" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/22). Fehr said without progress in the next several weeks, "the odds that we will not have a normal spring training go up astronomically" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 9/21). CHARITY SERIES: Acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said he would take a proposal for a charity World Series between the Yankees and Expos proposed by Montreal businessman Hugh Hallward under advisement. Fehr, on the proposal: "Unless and until somebody on the other side takes it seriously, I'm not prepared to." Expos alternate Player Rep Darrin Fletcher doubted players would be interested. Yankee Player Rep Paul Gibson compared it to a "celebrity softball event." Giants owner Peter Magowan said there's not enough time to gather advertising on TV: "It's not going to happen" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 9/21). Yankees owner George Steinbrenner said he's interested: "We got Yankee Stadium until Oct. 31, and they tell me the field's never looked better" (Jeff Blair, MONTREAL GAZETTE, 9/22). TV TALK: Rudy Martzke reports Nike has a plan to televise five all-star games to be televised during World Series time in October. Nike spokesperson Keith Peters: "There's nothing to announce, but we are trying to put together something that's fun, showcases players and benefits youth sports." Networks involved with baseball (ABC, NBC, Turner and Prime) "likely would pass on the idea or haven't been contacted." Fox, "not wanting to upset baseball owners in the event it gets a chance to bid on the sport after 1995, also can't be discounted." But CBS, with "no allegiance" to baseball after losing the sport, admitted being contacted with the idea (USA TODAY, 9/22). In Chicago, Bob Verdi writes, "in this moment of 'grave economic problems,' it would behoove them to go to the ready-and-waiting Fox while the getting is good." ABC Sports President Dennis Swanson, noting that there is another year left on ABC's and NBC's deal with The Baseball Network: "We have a contract." Adds Verdi, "Yeah, and we used to have a World Series, too" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 9/22). PLAYER MOVES: The Yankees' Paul O'Neill said he would consider playing in Japan if the '95 season looks to be in jeopardy (Joel Sherman, N.Y. POST, 9/22). The Marlins' Jeff Conine got approval from the union to go to the Marlins' instructional league. His expenses will be picked up by the team (Pedro Gomez, MIAMI HERALD, 9/21).