SBD/30/Leagues Governing Bodies

BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 111: TALKS GO NOWHERE

     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).
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