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  • BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 116: KEY MEETINGS TODAY

         "If baseball has a chance of settling its labor strike, the
    groundwork will have to be laid in Atlanta this week," writes
    I.J. Rosenberg in Sunday's ATLANTA CONSTITUTION.  The players
    meet at the Westin Peachtree Plaza today through Wednesday, where
    they are expected to put together a counterproposal to the
    owners' payroll tax plan.  Braves Player Rep Tom Glavine: "I'm
    not saying we're going to come out of our meeting with a proposal
    that is just going to knock their socks off and they are going to
    accept it as it is.  But hopefully we can come out of our
    meetings with a proposal that has the basis to which we can start
    negotiating a deal that is fair for both sides" (ATLANTA
    CONSTITUTION, 12/4).  No "breakthroughs" are expected, but the
    object of the union leadership may be to disarm militant owners
    and keep the negotiations alive" (Peter Schmuck, Baltimore SUN,
    12/5).  Special mediator W.J. Usery meets with players tomorrow
    (USA TODAY, 12/5).
         PLAYER UNITY:  In Chicago, Jerome Holtzman examines the lack
    of public breaks in the union: "Despite the fact that many
    players are unhappy with the stalemated negotiations --possibly
    as high as 30 percent of them -- they have remained silent."
    Holtzman reports that he has received a "half-dozen calls from
    baseball insiders -- umpires, general managers and agents -- all
    of whom insist many of the players, particularly the big-name
    stars, are in various stages of rebellion" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE,
    12/4).
         THE FIRST CRACK:  Expos pitcher Denis Boucher said he would
    cross the picket line: "I'm not a roster player.  I have a wife
    and a little girl, and I'd be making  a lot more money if I was
    playing in the majors."  Boucher is a free agent who expects to
    sign a minor-league contract with the Expos in the next few weeks
    (CP/Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 12/5).   ECONOMICS:  Peter Gammons
    examines possible changes in his Sunday column: "It appears any
    settlement will trade arbitration for four-year free agency"
    (BOSTON GLOBE, 12/4).  AP's Chris Sheridan reports at least ten
    teams would reduce ticket prices if replacement players are used
    in '95:  Orioles, Red Sox, White Sox, Royals, Brewers, Braves,
    Cubs, Dodgers, Pirates and Giants (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 12/04).
    Under "Baseball's Hardest Sell," NEWSWEEK examines some of the
    different promotions teams have created to sell their season
    tickets (NEWSWEEK, 12/12 issue).  One club president on selling
    TV/radio ads:  "We can't ask sponsors to belly up to the bar for
    replacement players, and we can't ask them to hold their money
    much longer" (BOSTON GLOBE, 12/4).
         MITCHELL:  In an interview on "John McLaughlin's One on
    One," retiring Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell was asked
    about becoming MLB Commissioner:  "The answer is that no offer
    has been made to me.  The baseball people are occupied now in
    their negotiations between the owners and the players, which I
    hope they settle soon.  Several owners have contacted me and
    urged me to consider it, and what I've said to them is that if
    and when an offer is made, I will consider it" ("One on One,"
    12/4).
    

    Print | Tags: Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Kansas City Royals, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, MLB, News Corp./Fox, Pittsburgh Pirates, Time Warner
  • HOCKEY HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 66: IS IT DARKEST BEFORE A DEAL?

         With NHL labor negotiations set to resume in Chicago today,
    salary arbitration, a rookie salary cap and free agency will
    again be "front and center."  Talks broke off on Friday with both
    sides claiming there was little middle ground to discuss
    (CANADIAN PRESS/Vancouver PROVINCE, 12/5).  NHL Senior VP & Dir
    of Hockey Ops Brian Burke:  "The calendar is coming at us like a
    freight train, and at some point it's not going to be possible to
    have a season.  And hopefully that's going to add some pressure
    to the talks from both sides" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 12/2).
         WHAT'S THERE TO TALK ABOUT?  In Toronto, Gare Joyce writes,
    "The players can take some hollow satisfaction from a single
    significant victory in these talks.  They will likely walk away
    from these negotiations with unrestricted free agency at age 28."
    But "victories" on arbitration, two-way contracts and a rookie
    cap, the owners "have to feel satisfied with the direction of the
    talks.  But is it the agreement they want?" (Toronto GLOBE &
    MAIL, 12/5).  In Philadelphia, Gary Miles notes that the league's
    top players are opposed to the owners' "franchise player"
    proposal -- reportedly agreed to by the union.  "Whether this
    issue will splinter the union will be interesting to see in the
    critical days ahead" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 12/4).  One
    "prominent" agent:  "I hate the position Goodenow is in.  If I
    were the owners, I'd jump at the offer the way it is now"
    (Stephen Harris, BOSTON HERALD, 12/5).
         WHAT'S TO BLAME FOR THE STALL?  Many members of the NHL
    negotiating team accuse Goodenow of stalling intentionally.  Some
    cite the Gretzky tour; others claim the union won't make any
    concessions "until the season is on the brink of being lost" (Bob
    McKenzie, TORONTO STAR, 12/3).  One NHL source:  "Our feeling is
    that Goodenow has led Gretzky to understand that no deal would be
    made until the tour is completed" (Red Fisher, MONTREAL GAZETTE,
    12/3).  Another unnamed NHL official:  "Do you think the
    companies sponsoring the tour would make the deals they made
    without getting that assurance?  Or would the CBC send people
    over without the same assurance?  They sought, and got,
    Goodenow's assurance there would be no deal until they got back"
    (David Shoalts, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 12/3).
         THE TAX IS BACK?  Agent Neil Abbott "said that based on what
    he had heard, there was a reason the talks broke off so
    abruptly."  Abbott:  "The (salary) cap is back (on the table).
    That's what happened [Friday], although no one will say it.  It
    was intimated to me that it was."  However, sources on both sides
    denied the tax was discussed (Nancy Marrapese, BOSTON GLOBE,
    12/3).  And the CANADIAN PRESS also reports the owners' plan
    "remained on the shelf" (VANCOUVER SUN, 12/3).  Goodenow:  "If,
    in fact, the tax does come out, it will be very difficult to get
    a deal and to have a season" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 12/2).
         ANOTHER WAY OF LOOKING AT IT:  During "Weekend Update" on
    NBC's "Saturday Night Live," David Spade offered his view --
    which was unsympathetic to players in both baseball and hockey.
    Spade:  "But, guys, I do feel sorry for you, you haven't been
    able to play your road games so that means for the last eight
    months you've had to have sex with your own wives, and nobody
    wants that" ("SNL," NBC, 12/3).
    

    Print | Tags: Canadian Broadcasting Corp., ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NBC, NHL, Walt Disney
  • USA TRACK & FIELD WAR COULD LEAD TO PLAYERS UNION

         "The essence of track and field's problems is that, at the
    national level, a federation created to run an amateur sport
    sanctions meets involving" pros.  It is that fact that is leading
    many in the USA Track & FIeld leadership to "move toward a
    player-run meet circuit," according to Joe Drape of the ATLANTA
    CONSTITUTION.  "Growing athlete activism was on display" at the
    USATF's annual convention in St. Louis last week.  Mike Conley, a
    USATF board member who is at the "forefront of the union
    movement": "The future of track and field is in prize money.
    Right now, appearance fees are so hush-hush that the fans don't
    have a real idea of what it's about.  And that takes away from
    the public appeal."  Many USAFT members were upset with USATF
    Exec Dir Ollan Cassell for negotiating what they considered a
    "mediocre" TV deal for the indoor track circuit.  Conley said a
    player-run pro circuit will be more attractive to sponsors: "If
    we as an organization go to a sponsor and say we'll promise you
    these top guys will compete, I believe they'd be glad to get rid
    of the middle man" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 12/4).
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies
  • WORLD GOLF TOUR ORGANIZER FOLLOWS UP ON NORMAN STATEMENT

         World Golf Tour Exec Dir John Montgomery Jr. said he
    contacted Greg Norman early Friday morning and asked him about a
    disputed conversation between what Norman and PGA Tour
    Commissioner Tim Finchem: "Greg was in shock as to what the
    context [of the commissioner's statement] was.  We talked
    strictly about the release and he didn't feel it was reflective
    of their conversation."  On Finchem's contention that Norman had
    "re-evaluated his commitment" to the World Tour, Montgomery said:
    "He's not stepping back.  He's not re-evaluating. ... Just
    because he's out of the country for two weeks doesn't mean he's
    re-evaluating."  Montgomery has set mid-January '95 as a
    tentative deadline to get the World Tour started (Glenn Sheeley,
    N.Y. NEWSDAY, 12/3).
         IN THE GALLERY:  In addition to the PGA Tour, another
    "interested observer" of Fox's planned World Golf Tour is
    Andersen Consulting -- the title sponsor of the World
    Championship of Golf set for next spring on ABC & ESPN.  The two
    networks, in conjunction with International Sports &
    Entertainment Strategies (ISES), are seeking four "presenting
    sponsors" and five or six "official suppliers" for the int'l
    tournament (INSIDE MEDIA, 12/13 issue).
    

    Print | Tags: ABC, ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, News Corp./Fox, PGA Tour, Walt Disney
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