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President Clinton stepped into the middle of the baseball's labor dispute, setting a February 6 deadline for a settlement, "or something close to one." If one cannot be reached, "Clinton threatened government action to force a settlement." Clinton, citing the potential economic impact on major league cities, ordered Special Mediator William Usery to bring the parties back to the bargaining table to try to reach an agreement. Face-to- face negotiations are scheduled to resume Wednesday in Washington. Labor Secretary Robert Reich: "We're turning up the heat. ... The President is intent on getting the parties back to the bargaining table and getting this solved." If there is no agreement, Clinton said he might ask Usery to recommend terms of a settlement, but that recommendation would not be binding (Maske & Swoboda, WASHINGTON POST, 1/27). But MLB General Counsel Chuck O'Connor notes that the recommended settlement could be woven into legislation in a manner by which the railroad dispute was settled last year (Ross Newhan, L.A. TIMES, 1/27). Clinton was interviewed by NBC's Tom Brokaw. Excerpts appeared on both the "NBC Nightly News" and the "Today" show this morning. Clinton again stressed the economic impact of the strike (NBC, 1/26-27). REACTIONS: Acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig: "I want to express to the President our appreciation for his interest and concern in settling the players' strike" (MLB). MLBPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr: "A statement like that certainly focuses efforts and reminds people that time is slipping by" (WASHINGTON POST, 1/27). Red Sox CEO John Harrington: "It shows that there is tremendous national interest in resolving this dispute" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 1/27). One MLB exec: "It sounds to me like a good speech, but not much beyond that" (TORONTO STAR, 1/27). MORE POLITICS: Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole addressed the strike on the Senate floor. CNN's Wolf Blitzer: "Some are suggesting [Dole and Clinton] seem to be competing who can get more actively involved and score some political points" ("Inside Politics," CNN, 1/26). Dole offered his office as a negotiation site (Mult., 1/27).
THE SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY contacted every MLB team regarding their ticket policy for the '95 season. Most teams have offered a discount in the case of replacement players being used to start the season. The A's have offered perhaps the most dramatic offer, cutting ticket prices up to 78% for every home game in April, even if a labor deal is reached. As of yesterday, 14 teams have not released a policy: Angels, Astros, Blue Jays, Cubs, Expos, Indians, Mariners, Mets, Padres, Royals, Rockies, Tigers, Twins, and White Sox. Below is a list of those teams that have plans: ATHLETICS: The A's will cut prices up to 78% for home games in April, regardless of whether a collective bargaining agreement is reached. Prices will range from $1 to $6 for MVP seats. Season-ticket holders will receive an adjusted invoice or rebate by March 1. If there is no CBA by April 30, ticket holders will be able to return tickets and receive a rebate if reduced prices remain in effect. BRAVES: Season and individual game ticket holders will have until April 23 to get their money back for games scheduled the rest of the season. If a ticket holder is unsatisfied prior to April 23, they may obtain a full refund for any or all unplayed games. The team will also issue up to a 50% rebate on each full- price season or individual game ticket for any strike-affected games which are played. BREWERS: The Brewers have offered a 50% rebate on all games played with full replacement squads. All season ticket holders will be offered their money back with interest by April 30th if tickets holders are not satisfied. CARDINALS: The team will cut prices based on a salary formula. Tickets will be slashed up to 50% if player salaries total $5M, cut 40% if payroll hits $10-15M, etc. DODGERS: The Dodgers announced they will reduce their ticket prices to 1958 levels until a CBA is reached or a representative number of current major leaguers return to play. Ticket prices will range from $.75-$3.50, a savings of 60-75% over their '95 ticket prices. GIANTS: The Giants announced ticket prices will be reduced by 50% if the season opens with replacements. Tickets will return to full-price once a CBA is reached or a representative number of current major-leaguers returns to play. The Giants will offer half-price rebates for those who already have purchased season tickets. MARLINS: The Marlins will charge half-price as long as replacement players are used, and allow season ticket holders to receive 100% refunds and still retain their seat. ORIOLES: The Orioles say they will not play with replacement players. But if replacements are used, reports are they will allow fans to turn in tickets for refunds. PHILLIES: Will reduce box seats by $5, and reserved seats by $3 for first 20 games, regardless of the team's makeup. Discounts after the first 20 games will be reviewed, and season-ticket holders will receive an adjustment. PIRATES: The Pirates will offer a full refund on tickets for any remaining home games to fans who are not satisfied with the baseball at any time prior to May 19. The guaranteed offer will remain in effect through May 19 unless a CBA is reached or a representative number of current major leaguers return to play by that date. If the team opens with replacements, the club will announce a ticket rebate pricing plan in late February. RANGERS: The Rangers will cut ticket prices in half if the team consists entirely of replacements. In the case of replacements, tickets will be discounted to a percentage determined by a formula based on player salaries. Fans will continue to receive discounts until total player salaries of an annualized basis reach $30M or a CBA is reached, whichever comes first. Rangers' season ticket holders will receive refunds or credits to their accounts at end of each month for any money owed from the discount policy. RED SOX: The Red Sox will have a price adjustment and discount policy for all tickets purchased, including season and individual tickets. The team will make adjustments up to 50% of the printed ticket price should the team be made up entirely of replacement players. If fans desire full refunds, they may obtain them at a predetermined time prior to the playing of replacement games. Red Sox GM Dan Duquette said the team in considering lower prices for all games early in the season, even without replacements. REDS: A team spokesperson said the tickets will remain at $3.50 to $11.50, the same as last year. No changes will be made despite who plays. YANKEES: The Yankees will cut ticket prices up to 50% for all regular season games with replacement players.