SBD/27/Leagues Governing Bodies

BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 169: CLINTON TAKES A SWING

     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).
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