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BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 134: NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS
Published December 23, 1994
The owners and players "failed to reach a bargaining settlement before the midnight deadline established by the owners last Friday." Conferring by telephone, the owners' Executive Council responded by declaring an impasse and unilaterally implementing their salary cap system. "It is certain to ignite a bitter legal battle and jeopardize the 1995 season." MLBPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr: "The owners will come to regret this -- sooner than they realize" (Ross Newhan, L.A. TIMES, 12/23). The final joint negotiating session "became so contentious that Special Mediator William Usery decided it would be pointless to keep it alive up to the deadline" (Peter Schmuck, Baltimore SUN, 12/23). Dodger Owner Peter O'Malley does not completely support the new system because of the absence of a provision insuring good management among clubs receiving the benefits of revenue sharing: "I still don't like the idea of sharing money with clubs like San Diego and Milwaukee, where there has been no evidence of good management" (L.A. TIMES, 12/23). LAST-DITCH: Yesterday afternoon, the players made another proposal that contained a secondary tax. But the owners said it was insufficient, since only three teams would have had to pay a 10% marginal tax. Phillies Exec VP Dave Montgomery: "This proposal, as far as we're concerned, brought us no closer to the objectives we were talking about." Royals Player Rep David Cone: "Anything short of a total collapse by the players would not have gotten a deal done" (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 12/23). Selig: "I can't tell you how disappointed we all are in their alleged counterproposal. It was so unresponsive that it is like we were back in June or July" (L.A. TIMES, 12/23). Fehr, on why their latest proposal did not come until today: "It's not a proposal that the players really wanted to make, because it goes against what they wanted. They don't think they need taxes." Fehr noted that the proposal was ready Wednesday night, but he said Usery asked them to wait until Thursday ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 12/22). NOW WHAT? The union plans to file an unfair labor practice charge with the NLRB as early as today or Monday. Usery will speak with Labor Secretary Robert Reich to determine whether Usery should remain involved in the dispute (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 12/23). BOSNIA, NORTH KOREA, HAITI ... NOW BASEBALL? Jimmy Carter, the world's "foremost peacemaker," has offered his services as a mediator. Fehr spoke to Carter yesterday: "I'm very appreciative of his interest, but at this point, I don't know what it will mean." Usery said he would welcome Carter's help, but added: "The only thing I didn't think we needed was another mediator" (I.J. Rosenberg, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 12/23). Likewise, acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig told Carter "no thanks" (USA TODAY, 12/23).