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BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 111: TALKS GO NOWHERE
Published November 30, 1994
As expected, the MLBPA did not make a counter-proposal to the owners' tax plan. Jayson Stark in Philadelphia writes, "It was once expected that the players' negotiating team might feel some sense of urgency to make significant headway this week, before the owners simply unilaterally implement their salary cap in five days and throw the baseball world into chaos." In the four-hour meeting, the union asked the owners "a lot of questions about the tax proposal they'd made 13 days ago. Then they all broke for dinner. And absolutely zero progress was made -- not that that's anything new" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 11/30). Braves Player Rep Tom Glavine: "If they are waiting for us to give in, then it is going to be a long wait" (ESPN, 11/29). Rockies Owner Jerry McMorris: "We are still not really negotiating. We continue to circle the wagons, we don't have a counter-proposal, and we don't have any real negotiations going on, we have a lot of explanations going on, a lot of technical questions happened today" ("Sports Tonight," CNN, 11/29). Both sides "appeared yesterday to have all but given up on reaching a negotiated settlement" (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 11/30). The players said that a counter-proposal could come as a result of their meeting next week in Atlanta (Mult., 11/30). MLBPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr: "We have a board meeting next week, and that board meeting will be to review everything from top to bottom, and I am certainly not going to make a judgement now on to what the board is likely to decide" (ESPN, 11/29). REPLACEMENTS OR REINFORCEMENTS? Red Sox CEO John Harrington hinted that owners could field replacement players: "Our preference is to put our major league players out there. But if they're unwilling to play, then we'll have to go with someone else who is willing to play" (USA TODAY, 11/30). In New York, Joel Sherman speculates that if the owners do turn to replacement players, some MLB players may cross the line. "Should players start trickling in and threaten to create a flood that would damage" the MLBPA unity, the union could attempt to send its members back to work without signing an agreement (N.Y. POST, 11/30). But ESPN's Keith Olbermann notes: "On the whole, things are bad enough that John Harrington said today that even when the players do end the strike without an agreement, the owners might then turn around and lock them out" ("SportsCenter," 11/29). There are "potential problems" with replacements. Orioles Owner Peter Angelos, "who built his Baltimore-based law practice representing local trade unions, has told associates he won't field a replacement team." And Ontario provincial law prohibits the use of replacement workers, so the Blue Jays could not field a replacement team -- "at least one that plays its home games in Toronto" (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 11/30). Harrington noted that the "Quebec situation" has been worked out so Montreal can use replacement players (N.Y. TIMES, 11/30). The BOSTON HERALD reports that the Red Sox held a staff meeting last week "at which initial plans were formulated to start the season if the major leaguers remain on strike" (BOSTON HERALD, 11/30). THE IMPASSE: Sources indicate that the owners have told GMs to come to Chicago next week. The GMs will conduct the Rule 5 draft of unprotected minor leaguers, then will be briefed by owners on the "ramifications" of the new rules (PHILA. INQUIRER, 11/30). Assuming owners declare an impasse and implement a cap, 21 teams would have to reduce payrolls by a combined $55M (WASHINGTON TIMES, 11/30). EXPANSION: Next week's owners meeting will also include a Sunday session during which the owners will discuss expansion and interview the prospective ownership group from Orlando. Harrington said the "likelihood of expansion remains low as long a there is not a settlement, but indicated it would not be out of the question after implementation" (Peter Schmuck, Baltimore SUN, 11/30).