SBD/2/Leagues Governing Bodies

BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 113: EXIT VISAS IMMINENT?

     MLBPA General Counsel Gene Orza confirmed yesterday that the
union has asked the Department of Labor to certify the strike, "a
step that would prompt the Immigration and Naturalization
Service, under Federal regulation, to deny visas to foreign
players seeking to play baseball in the United States."  INS
officer John Brown: "We can't approve any petitions for baseball
players coming to perform at locations where the strike is
ongoing."  In other words, the regulation "prohibits foreign
nationals from being used as replacement workers during a
strike."  Management has not "publicly registered a challenge to
the union's effort to block visas."  The owners will submit a
position statement to the Labor Department next week (Murray
Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 12/2).  Red Sox VP Dick Bresciani "conceded
that plans are being made to roll back prices" if replacement
players are used (Dan Shaughnessy, BOSTON GLOBE, 12/2).  At Bobby
Bonilla's charity event, star players reaffirmed their stance
that they would not cross the picket line.  They agreed "the
damage caused by one superstar crossing the line would far
supersede the danger of a dozen or so minor league" players
coming in (Jennifer Frey, N.Y. TIMES, 12/2).
     LATIN PLAYERS:  In New York, Murray Chass hints that the
owners think some Latin MLB players "will defect from the union
in wholesale numbers and report to spring training when camps
open."  But Rafael Palmeiro said that was "ridiculous" and
"racist":  "Let me tell you, if anybody crosses that line, it's
not going to be a Latin player."  One club exec explained the
owners' thinking in including Latin players in their spring
training plans, saying that most Latin players "come from poor
families" and send part of their salaries home.  But the exec
agreed with Palmeiro that that thinking is "racist" (N.Y. TIMES,
12/2).
     OWNERS OPTIMISTIC?  Red Sox CEO John Harrington:
"Hopefully, it could be done next week, but it would take a
tremendous effort -- and we're going to do that over an intense
period of time over five or six days.  But it is so complex that
my projection is that it will take us into the next month of
January.  But I'm very optimistic and hopeful that it will be
done before the start of spring training" ("SportsCenter," ESPN,
12/1).
     THE UNION PROPOSAL:  Special mediator William Usery is
considering attending the union's 3-day executive board meeting
that starts Monday in Atlanta (TORONTO SUN, 12/2).  In New York,
George Vecsey praises Usery's work: "He's the best chance
baseball has" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/2).
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