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BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 116: KEY MEETINGS TODAY
Published December 5, 1994
"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).