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BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 112: A GLIMMER OF HOPE
Published December 1, 1994
MLB owners, "bowing to pressure" from mediator William Usery, agreed to cancel a Monday meeting in Chicago in which they were expected to declare an impasse in labor negotiations and unilaterally implement their salary cap proposal. The decision by the owners "did not herald a breakthrough, but it frees the union from the threat of implementation while it conducts a 3-day executive board meeting in Atlanta starting Monday and formulates a counterproposal" (Ross Newhan, L.A. TIMES, 12/1). CNN's Mark Morgan called it "a surprising turn of events because with no counter-proposal forthcoming from the union, the owners were all set to unilaterally implenment their salary cap proposal next week in Chicago" (CNN, 11/30). Braves President Stan Kasten: "I believe from everything that I have heard, that [the players] are going to Atlanta with the purpose in mind of coming out of there with something that does achieve a negotiated settlement." ESPN's Bob Sirkin: "The owners have, at least for the time being, put the ball back in the players hands" ("SportsCenter," 11/30). A SMALL OPENING: MLBPA attorney Lauren Rich: "If there is a window, both sides found a way to keep it open a few days more and that's very important" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/1). The players and owners meet again in Rye, NY, on December 9. A REASON TO RELENT? In New York, Joel Sherman reports that the implementation of the salary cap "was expected to put the most stress" on the owners unity. Big market clubs such as the Yankees, Mets, Dodgers, Blue Jays and Orioles were expected to argue "behind closed doors against imposition of a salary cap" (N.Y. POST, 12/1). THE PLAYERS' TASK: Sources said that Usery "came down hard on the union for failing to make" a counterproposal, but union officials said they required more information on how the tax works and wanted their constituency to approve any response in Atlanta. MLBPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr: "It's our intention to take everything we've learned and hopefully produce the framework for a settlement" (L.A. TIMES, 12/1). It is expected that more than 100 additional players may show up in Atlanta at the 3-day assemblage of the union's 32-man executive board. "If a majority, or near-majority, express desire for immediate settlement, it could be a Merry Christmas for all" (Jerome Holtzman, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 12/1). NO DC HELP: Incoming U.S. House Judiciary Chair Henry Hyde (R-IL) said the government should not get involved in the baseball negotiations (Mult., 12/1). ONTARIO LAWS: Blue Jay officials have decided they will not field replacement players to start the '95 season. Blue Jay President Paul Beeston: "The Blue Jays will not take part in breaking or flouting any law in the province." Lawyers representing MLB owners have researched the issue and come to the "conclusion that they would be unlikely to win a challenge" to the Ontario law. Beeston said the team would not challenge the law, but could do so if MLB ordered the team to do so. Beeston: "We will make it clear that we're doing it at the behest of Major League Baseball" (Tim Harper, TORONTO STAR, 12/1). Despite a similar Quebec law, the Expos "have received the green light to use replacement players" (Mike Zeisberger, TORONTO SUN, 12/1).