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  • BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 92: NEW "SENSITIVITY" IN TALKS

         In the first face-to-face negotiations since September,
    acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig told MLBPA negotiators the
    owners would remove their proposal of a salary-cap if the players
    would agree to a system that would give the owners a firm
    indication of what their labor costs would be.  That echoed a
    position the owners have taken since the beginning of the labor
    dispute.  But one who was in the room said that Selig's offer
    "was like starting over."  Selig: "There at least was a feeling
    of what I call civility and sensitivity that didn't exist in some
    of the earlier meetings.  Only time will tell, but it did exist
    today" (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 11/11).  MLBPA General Counsel
    Gene Orza: "We're still far apart.  But we're better off for
    having had this meeting" (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 11/11).
    The talks was the first session mediated by William Usery.
         RAVITCH TAKES A STEP BACK:  In L.A., Ross Newhan writes that
    the "only discernible change" in yesterday's talks was the
    appointment of Red Sox CEO John Harrington as chair of the owners
    negotiating committee, further "diminishing the presence" of MLB
    chief negotiator Richard Ravitch (L.A. TIMES, 11/11).  According
    to participants in the meetings, Ravitch "didn't say a single
    word" during the joint session (WASHINGTON POST, 11/11).  But a
    source familiar with the situation said that Harrington's
    appointment was "more cosmetic than substantive" (L.A. TIMES,
    11/11).  ESPN's Keith Olbermann: "Late news from the meetings in
    Rye Brook   -- a conclave of owners is meeting late into the
    night without Dick Ravitch" ("Sports Center," ESPN, 11/10).
         CORRECTION:  WJR-Radio in Detroit withdrew their report from
    yesterday that baseball owners are considering using replacement
    players next year.
    

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  • HOCKEY HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 42: YOUR MOVE, MR. BETTMAN

         "There was movement on the NHL labor front yesterday, but
    not nearly enough to break up the logjam," according to Bob
    McKenzie in this morning's TORONTO STAR.  In what NHLPA
    negotiating committee member Marty McSorley termed "significant
    concessions," the NHLPA reportedly offered to accept some entry-
    level salary limitations -- if the league drops its demand for a
    payroll tax.  The union would agree to mandatory two-way
    contracts (one salary for NHL games, and another if rookies are
    sent to the minors) and no salary arbitration for first-year
    players.  "The NHL party line, and it's doubtful it changed
    yesterday, is that entry-level restrictions alone are not nearly
    enough to provide a 'drag' on player salaries" (TORONTO STAR,
    11/11).  McSorley:  "We made concessions without giving absolute
    numbers as to what people have to accept.  And basically, it was
    just short of that" (BOSTON GLOBE, 11/11).  One league source
    said the players' offer "is not enough" (Dave Fuller, TORONTO
    SUN, 11/11).  "Depending on whom you talk to, the two sides are
    either making progress or are still miles apart" (Gary Miles,
    PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 11/11).  Sharks Player Rep Jeff Norton:
    "This is definitely as far as we're going to go" (SAN JOSE
    MERCURY NEWS, 11/11).  NHLPA Exec Dir Bob Goodenow and McSorley
    "make it seem the union is willing to pinch at the front end --
    the youngest talent -- but remains unwilling to allow more than a
    moderate salary taxation system that only nibbles at the concept
    of an overall cap. ... The hawks among the owners undoubtedly
    will want to keep the players out until they buy into some real
    form of a cap" (Kevin Paul Dupont, BOSTON GLOBE, 11/11).  The two
    sides are expected to talk by phone today, with NHL Commissioner
    Gary Bettman delivering the owners' response.  The next face-to-
    face negotiating session is not expected until next week.
         HIGH HOPES:  At least two team execs "believe the players
    could be back on the ice preparing for the start of the season by
    the middle or the end of next week."  But one union source said
    that Goodenow told some players after the meeting that "a return
    to the ice by next week was unrealistic" (Roy Cummings, TAMPA
    TRIBUNE, 11/11).  ESPN's Karl Ravech reports the NHL "is
    currently working on a 60 game interconference schedule, meaning
    each team would only play teams from the east and vice versa in
    the west."  ESPN's Steve Levy notes that December 1 "is a day
    that could accommodate" the 60-game schedule ("Sports Center,"
    11/10).
         FOUR-ON-FOUR:  The opening night of the NHLPA's charity
    tournament at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton drew 14,640 fans (Helene
    Elliott, L.A. TIMES, 11/11).
    

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