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BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 127: A STAY OF EXECUTION
Published December 16, 1994
Meeting in Chicago, MLB owners agreed to extend negotiations with the players' union for seven more days rather than immediately implement their economic system. The owners voted to give MLB's Executive Council the authority to implement a cap next Thursday if an agreement between with the union is not reached. The vote was 25-3, with the Orioles, Blue Jays and Mets opposing. This "fueled speculation that the previous week of negotiations brought the two sides closer," but Red Sox CEO John Harrington said "that wasn't necessarily true" (Jeffrey Flanagan, K.C. STAR, 12/16). In L.A., Ross Newhan writes, "It is difficult to say whether [the vote] is merely the latest chapter in what some believe has been a shameful attempt by both sides to establish evidence of good-faith bargaining if that becomes an issue" before the NLRB (L.A. TIMES, 12/16). FROM THE UNION: With the 7-day reprieve, the union agreed to postpone basic agreement deadlines: arbitration offers have been delayed to December 23 and the December 20 deadline for tendering '95 contracts was put off. WHY THE DELAY? It was learned that the owners approved a delayed implementation, "despite a warning" by an attorney for Mets co-owner Fred Wilpon that the owners cannot withstand a union challenge before the NLRB (Ross Newhan, L.A. TIMES, 12/16). "Maybe the owners are getting soft. Maybe they aren't all in agreement. Whatever, it was their move, and they blinked" (Tom Knott, WASHINGTON TIMES, 12/16). Not everyone on the owners' side "was pleased with the delay." Reds Owner Marge Schott "seemed agitated as she left, amid speculation she wanted to get on with the implementation" (Mike Shalin, BOSTON HERALD, 12/16). ESPN's Peter Gammons, asked if the delay was to fix the problem in Toronto where Ontario law prevents use of replacement players: "No, that's something that they will deal with in January and February" ("SportsCenter," 12/15). The owners' negotiating committee of Harrington, Braves President Stan Kasten and Rockies Owner Jerry McMorris was credited with the idea of a delay. Negotiations are expected to resume Monday in Washington, with William Usery presiding. OTHER NEWS: Union officials protested information published by the ASSCOCIATED PRESS on Monday that put union reserve fund assets from licensing revnues well over $100M. MLBPA Licensing Chief Judy Heeter called the figures "misleading and inaccurate" and denied that the information was leaked to the AP or any other news organization by the union (Bob Brill, THE BRILL REPORT, 12/15).