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BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 173: BACK TO THE FUTURE
Published January 31, 1995
Members of the MLBPA and the owners' negotiating committee are all headed back to Washington. Separate meetings with Special Mediator Bill Usery are scheduled for today, while face- to-face talks begin tomorrow. President Clinton has set a February 6 deadline for a settlement, or something close to it. If not, then he will ask Usery to recommend a solution. The MLBPA will also hold an executive board meeting where they "could vote to lift the month-old freeze on signing contracts." There is the possibility that an extended freeze on signings "could disadvantage players by creating an instant talent glut when it is lifted" (Peter Schmuck, Baltimore SUN, 1/31). Meanwhile, the owners are expected to draw up a new proposal for the Wednesday talks. Brewers VP/General Counsel Wendy Selig-Prieb: "I'm not going to speculate on what we may or may not do. We've had some general discussions, but we'll use the best part of (Tuesday) to work that out" (MILWAUKEE SENTINEL, 1/31). REFINED OFFER: In Denver, Tracy Ringolsby speculates that the owners are expected to extend unrestricted free agency to any players with five years of service, but eliminate arbitration by creating right-of-first-refusal free agency for players with more than four years of service but less than five (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 1/31). DON'T RUMINATE, LEGISLATE! Rep. John LaFalce (D-NY), introduced a measure that would establish a national commission with the authority to settle the strike and regulate baseball. It would be called the National Commission on Professional Baseball (Mult., 1/31). NY Assemblyman Richard Brodsky will introduce a bill today to prevent the Mets and Yankees from playing games with replacement players in Shea and Yankee Stadiums, bar the teams from advertising replacement games as "major league," and require cable companies to refund money for replacements games televised (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 1/31). ECONOMIC IMPACT: CNN's "Moneyline" profiled the economic impact of replacement players on Florida spring training cities. CNN's Lou Dobbs said both FL and AZ stand to lose $300M if the regular players don't take the field. One example: Yankee ticket sales for spring training in Ft. Lauderdale are down 80% from one year ago. Fort Myers Mayor Wilbur Smith on the estimated $30M his city will lose with replacement baseball: "It's something that Florida's very dependent on at the tail end of the tourist season, so even if they open with replacement players, it's going to take a big bite out of the economy" ("MoneyLine," CNN, 1/30).