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  • BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 132: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BILL

         "With yet another doomsday deadline rapidly approaching,
    there continued to be the faintest signs of hope Tuesday" that
    players and owners were close to finding a resolution (Joseph
    Reeves, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 12/21).  Rockies Owner Jerry McMorris,
    MLBPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr and Special Mediator William Usery --
    who, by the way, turns 71 today -- met alone late last night.
    "And while there was speculation that this might mean some sort
    of breakthrough was near," one union official said the two sides
    needed to determine "whether there is reason to get together as a
    group" (Jayson Stark, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 12/21).  McMorris:
    "It's time to make a deal if we want one.  There will be
    compromises reached.  There will be give and take on various
    parts" (AP/Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 12/21).  While most reports note
    that McMorris and Phillies Exec VP Dave Montgomery have been
    given the authority to make a deal, acting Commissioner Bud Selig
    denied that McMorris was sent as the "designated deal-maker"
    (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 12/21).  McMorris will meet again with
    Fehr this morning and the owners' full negotiating committee will
    arrive later in the day for joint talks (Hal Bodley, USA TODAY,
    12/21).
         IN DISPUTE:  Again, it appeared the "potential basis for a
    settlement" could be a two-tiered tax that features a relatively
    small tax on all 28 teams' payrolls, and a 2nd tax assessed
    against teams who exceed a certain payroll level (Jayson Stark,
    PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 12/21).
         IS THERE A DEADLINE?  While the owners have a self-imposed
    deadline for implementation at midnight tomorrow, many reports
    note that they may decide to hold off on declaring an impasse.
    "The union is winning the paper chase, but it remains to be seen
    whether a couple of unfavorable government rulings will
    discourage the owners"  (Peter Schmuck, Baltimore SUN, 12/21).
    MLBPA General Counsel Gene Orza said he thought "owners were
    becoming aware making a deal was their best option":  "There are
    more and more people uncomfortable with the system they would
    implement" (USA TODAY, 12/21).  But McMorris said owners are
    still working under the premise of a Thursday deadline (Thom
    Loverro, WASHINGTON TIMES, 12/21).
         ANOTHER NLRB LOSS FOR OWNERS:  The NLRB dismissed an unfair
    labor practice charge against the MLBPA by the owners concerning
    alleged threats against potential strikebreakers.  A week ago,
    the NLRB said it would issue two unfair labor practice complaints
    against owners over their failure to make a $7.8M contribution to
    the players' pension fund (I.J. Rosenberg, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION,
    12/21).  MLB plans to appeal the NLRB's dismissal of the threats
    complaint (MLB).
         NEWS & NOTES:  In an interview with ESPN that was made
    available to the ASSOCIATED PRESS, incoming Senate Judiciary
    Chair Sen. Orrin Hatch said he believes that some owners are
    trying to break the union:  "If I get the impression that the
    owners are going to break the players union, then I'm not going
    to sit idly by."  In a statement, Selig responded to Hatch's
    comments:  "I'm disappointed that Sen. Hatch made such
    inflammatory remarks at this critical stage" of the negotiations
    (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 12/21)....The Blue Jays have not decided
    when to put tickets for the '95 season on sale.  Jays
    spokesperson Mark Leno said the team will wait and see what
    happens with the strike before asking for season ticket renewals
    (TORONTO STAR, 12/21).
    

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, Colorado Rockies, ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLB, Philadelphia Phillies, Toronto Blue Jays, Walt Disney
  • HOCKEY HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 82: ANTI-TAX RALLY TODAY

         Following yesterday's meeting of 26 player reps in Toronto,
    the NHLPA expects as many as 200 players to convene for a
    briefing on the state of talks with the league.  "The morning
    line is that today's meeting will not be a stormy affair," writes
    Bob McKenzie of the TORONTO STAR.  "If the players are as like-
    minded on the issues as we've been led to believe it will turn
    into a rally" (TORONTO STAR, 12/21).  NHLPA spokesperson Steve
    McAllister:  "There'll be an update on negotiations, but there
    won't be a vote.  There's really nothing to vote on" (Toronto
    GLOBE & MAIL, 12/21).  NHLPA Exec Dir Bob Goodenow "said the only
    vote would be the ratification vote after all the cards are on
    the table and the final offer is made" (Lance Hornby, TORONTO
    SUN, 12/21).  After yesterday's meeting, the player reps were
    adamant in their public opposition to a tax.  The Penguins' Larry
    Murphy:  "If they insist on the tax, it'll kill the year.  So,
    really, it's up to Gary Bettman whether he wants to shut the
    season down or not" (Paul Hunter, TORONTO STAR, 12/21).     THE
    PLAYERS' CHOICE:  According to Roy Cummings in this morning's
    TAMPA TRIBUNE, Goodenow will inform the players that they
    "miscalculated" regarding the owners' resolve and have only two
    options to save the season:  1)  Make major concessions on
    arbitration to convince owners to drop their luxury tax.  The
    players would probably have to agree to non-binding arbitration
    after five years.  2)  Accept and negotiate a tax and "fight for
    the status quo in salary arbitration."  Notes Cummings, "This may
    be their best option. ... There will no doubt be plenty of
    support for [standing firm and losing the season] from the
    players, but the bet around NHL circles is that Goodenow will
    talk his players out of it" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 12/21).  In New York,
    Mark Everson writes, "In order to avoid a tax, it appears the
    players may have to give up almost everything else they've gained
    in the past 20 years" (N.Y. POST, 12/21).
         ON THE OWNERS' SIDE:  The CANADIAN PRESS is reporting that
    sources say the owners have two proposals on the table -- one
    with a tax and one without (VANCOUVER SUN, 12/21).  In Toronto,
    Paul Hunter reports sources say there was "serious talk among
    some owners Monday centering around presenting an offer without
    the tax.  However, the word on the management grapevine yesterday
    was the tax is still very much on the table and will remain
    there.  The only way that it will be removed is if the players
    drop all demands for salary arbitration and extended free
    agency."  Adds Hunter, "That won't happen" (TORONTO STAR, 12/21).
         NEWS & NOTES:  Red Wings Owner Mike Ilitch, to a Detroit
    radio station earlier this week:  "Why not just come right out
    and say 'cap' now?  I mean, it's a cap.  That's what we're after
    here.  They're using other fancy terms, but that's what it boils
    down to" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/21)....The AHL is facing its own labor
    problems.  In yesterday's editions of Quebec's LE SOLEIL, one AHL
    player said that talk of a pre-playoffs walkout is growing.  AHL
    players have been without a contract since August (AP/TORONTO
    STAR, 12/21).... Canucks President Pat Quinn suggested the NHL
    season might be shortened to 40 games (TORONTO SUN,
    12/21)....Capitals center Dave Poulin came away from a phone
    conversation with Goodenow confident there will be a deal after
    Christmas.  But Bruins GM Harry Sinden said:  "There isn't a
    damned thing to agree on" (Joe Gordon, BOSTON HERALD, 12/21).
    

    Print | Tags: AHL, Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NHL, Canucks Sports and Entertainment, Pittsburgh Penguins, Vancouver Canucks, Washington Capitals
  • MORE REAL ESTATE NEWS: WTA MOVING HEADQUARTERS TO CT

         The State of Connecticut is expected to announce today that
    the WTA Tour Players Association is moving its headquarters to
    Stamford, CT, in February.  Officials of the WTA Tour, which has
    been headquartered in St. Petersburg, FL since '90, said CT
    offers a "better business environment."  The Tour will continue
    to maintain some offices in St. Petersburg.  WTA Tour
    spokesperson Toni Woods said the move is part of an effort to
    restructure the WTA Tour through a merger with the Women's Tennis
    Council.  Woods: "Because of this integration, we're streamlining
    the tour.  It's more like the NFL now.  There's never really been
    a league office in women's professional tennis.  This makes it
    easier" (Roberto Gonzalez, HARTFORD COURANT, 12/21).
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, NFL
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