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BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 61: ODDS AND ENDS
Published October 11, 1994
READ THE FINE PRINT: This morning's CHICAGO TRIBUNE reports that "several lawyers for both sides predicted" MLB owners "will be unable to sell any major-league teams until there is a new collective bargaining agreement." Agent Tom Reich: "Anyone who buys a team until there's an agreement is a moron unless there's an indemnification." Acting Commissioner Bud Selig doesn't think "any sales will be delayed." Selig: "Each deal will have to be worked out differently." The Pirates, A's, and Padres are currently on the block (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/11). "OWNERS BENCH RAVITCH": According to Bill Madden of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS, Rockies Owner Jerry McMorris -- who "has always been classified as a moderate among owners" and "viewed as the one with the most experience in dealing with labor unions" -- may be the new point man for the owners when negotiations resume. Madden: "One thing that has become clear in the two-month hiatus since the players walked: Dick Ravitch is no longer batting cleanup for management" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/9/94). THE LEGAL LINE-UP: In Sunday's NEW YORK TIMES, Murray Chass writes that MLB owners "face a legal wilderness of decisions that history says they will mess up." For anyone who has lost track of the decisions that the owners must make, here's a run-down: do owners "impose their 45-day freeze on player transactions?"; if owners impose the freeze, "do they unilaterally suspend the provision in the expired basic agreement that provides for triple damages if clubs are caught colluding again?"; do owners "declare an impasse" in the negotiations for a new labor agreement?; if the owners declare an impasse, do they impose a salary cap?; if the owners decide to declare an impasse and implement the salary cap, "do they first make another proposal, changing the economics to conform to the revenues from the strike-shattered season?"; do owners appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court for a ruling on last week's decision by the Florida State Supreme Court? (N.Y. TIMES, 10/9). BACK TO THE BASICS: In Sunday's DALLAS MORNING NEWS, Richard Alm provides a comprehensive review of the state of the industry. "Baseball is resilient. In its 125 years as a business, it has survived player revolts, rival leagues, the Black Sox scandal and the rise of the National Football League, National Basketball Association and other rivals for sports fans dollars. Whether it can weather this latest crisis will depend on how successful the sport is in finding a way to put a good product on the market and win back its customers" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 10/9). MEANWHILE, IN ARLINGTON: The FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM recently conducted a mail-in survey of 3,200 people who purchased seat bonds for the Rangers. On a 16% response rate, the survey found that about 25% of respondents were very dissatisfied, 14% enough to not renew next year. The other 11% "griped that they were renewing only because the felt locked into the tickets by their seat bonds." 80% of all respondents said they would renew season tickets -- "of those, 69 percent gave unqualified yeses." STAR-TELEGRAM Dir of Research Gary Kromer noted it wasn't a "scientific survey," but said: "It's a good indicator of the depth of feeling among these particular fans" (STAR-TELEGRAM, 10/9).