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  • BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 147: REPLACEMENT-LAND

         "On a day of baseball-related maneuverings on Capitol Hill,
    the team owners put into motion their plan to open the 1995
    season with replacement players" (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST,
    1/5).  Meeting by phone, the owners' operations committee began
    examining the details on the use of replacement players during
    spring training games, "grappling with roster size, eligibility
    and other puzzling questions."  The committee will have another
    session soon and is contemplating a formal meeting of owners to
    give the replacement plan a approval "later this month" (Tim
    Harper, TORONTO STAR, 1/5).  In Milwaukee, Tom Haudricourt
    reports that, according to several Brewers players, the owners'
    plan to use replacements "is primarily a ploy to tempt striking
    major-leaguers to cross picket lines."  Brewer Kevin Seitzer:
    "They're just creating this imaginary sense of satisfaction that
    everything's going to be OK.  I'm not biting, and I don't think
    many guys will" (MILWAUKEE SENTINEL, 1/5).  In the current issue
    of SI, Tim Kurkjian reports that two club sources predict that
    half of the Pirates, a "very young team with relatively low
    salaries, will report."  Kurkjian also notes quotes from Astros
    pitcher Greg Swindell saying he will cross the lines (Tim SPORTS
    ILLUSTRATED, 1/9 issue).  Tigers GM Joe Klein said his is moving
    forward with building a team:  "We have to provide a ballclub and
    we'll do so" (WJR-Radio, 1/4).
         FEHR AND LOATHING IN WASHINGTON:  While the owners were
    contemplating the use of replacements, MLBPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr
    was in Washington updating Labor Secretary Robert Reich on the
    current state of negotiations.  The Clinton Administration "still
    is pressing the sides to return to the bargaining table."  Acting
    MLB Commissioner Bud Selig called for a resumption of talks:
    "I've said all along and I'll say it again, this thing has to be
    settled at the bargaining table" (Peter Schmuck, Baltimore SUN,
    1/5).
         ON THE HILL:  Five baseball bills, ranging from complete
    repeal of the sport's antitrust exemption to binding arbitration
    to settle the strike, were introduced on Day 1 of the 104th
    Congress.  Three of the bills, one from Sen. Pat Moynihan (D-NY)
    and two from Rep. Michael Bilirakis (R-FL), were expected, but
    two other House members also introduced bills.  Rep. Pat Williams
    (D-MT) reintroduced his bill that would require the owners and
    players to submit to binding arbitration if they did not reach an
    agreement by February 1, although the date will most likely be
    pushed back a month.  Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) also reintrduced
    his bill, which had made it out of the House Judiciary Committee
    last term, proposing that any unilateral implementation of new
    work rules become subject to the antitrust laws.  Conyers kept
    his bill narrow "rather than calling for complete repeal of the
    exemption" in the hope that the GOP would not see it as
    interfering with their "Contract with America" legislation.  Sen.
    Orrin Hatch (R-UT), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, may
    introduce his own bill which would most "closely resemble" the
    Conyers bill.  Paul Smith, a spokesperson for Sen. Hatch:  "He
    did say he thought if his bill passed, the players would be back
    for spring training.  That, to me, says he's going to do
    something fast" (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 1/5).
         EFFECT OF A REPEAL:  Selig: "Take away the antitrust
    exemption and you create a system that nobody can live with"
    (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/5).  Fehr on the owners' contention that labor
    relations are not affected by the exemption:  "If the owners
    really believed it made no difference, they would not oppose this
    change in the law.  They understand that it fundamentally changes
    the dynamic.  They understand that it would hold the owners
    accountable to the law the same way everybody else is."  MLB
    General Counsel Chuck O'Connor:  "If congress simply repeals the
    antitrust exemption, it will not have any effect on this labor
    dispute, and it will have ... a bad impact on Major League
    Baseball's relationship with its minor leagues" ("SportsCenter,"
    ESPN, 1/4).  Pirate Andy Van Slyke:  "We have replacement
    senators and congressmen now, right?  Well, it's time for them to
    do the right thing" (SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, 1/9 issue).
         SIGNING FREEZE:  Union officials said they would ask players
    to maintain a signing moratorium until Fehr and staff have
    completed a 7-city series of meetings with players and agents
    beginning tomorrow (See yesterday's DAILY for the list of cities)
    (Ross Newhan, L.A. TIMES, 1/5).
    

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, Detroit Tigers, ESPN, Houston Astros, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Milwaukee Brewers, MLB, Pittsburgh Pirates, Sports Illustrated, Time Warner, Walt Disney
  • HARTFORD BIDS TO BREAK CBA ALL-STAR ATTENDANCE RECORD

         The CBA All-Star Game has been the primary job facing
    Hartford Sports & Entertainment Group GM Casey Kahler since he
    signed on on August 17.  Hartford Sports & Entertainment owns the
    CBA Hellcats and the AFL's Connecticut Coyotes.  The Aetna CBA
    All-Star Classic will be held January 24 at the Hartford Civic
    Center.  While Kahler hopes to break the attendance record, he
    admits that "little over 3,000" tickets have been sold.  Kahler:
    "Obviously, we have to pick it up a little."  The record is
    11,382 set in 1993 in Oklahoma City (Roy Hasty, HARTFORD COURANT,
    1/5).
    

    Print | Tags: AFL, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Phoenix Coyotes
  • HOCKEY HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 97: OWNERS TO VOTE SATURDAY

         The NHL Board of Governors will vote on Saturday on whether
    to accept the latest contract offer from the NHLPA.  Acceptance
    of the proposal would mean that a 50-game season would begin on
    January 16.  In Toronto, Paul Hunter outlines three potential
    scenarios:  1)  The owners accept -- a "longshot";  2)  The
    owners reject and present the union with a "final" counter-offer;
    3)  The owners reject and negotiations continue.  It was not
    known whether NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman "supported or
    rejected the union's latest proposal, but his reaction will be
    crucial."  If Bettman approves the deal, a simple 14-vote
    majority is needed from the Board.  If he rejects the deal, 20
    votes would be necessary to ratify (TORONTO STAR, 1/5).
         DETAILS:  Since both sides continued to observe a news
    blackout, there was no official release on the details of the
    proposal.  But nearly all reports this morning note that the
    offer does not include a luxury tax.  In Toronto, David Shoalts
    reports that the players made a concession on free agency --
    agreeing to 30 as the eligibility age for unrestricted free
    agency (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 1/5).  On arbitration, the CP's
    Alan Adams reports that the players are offering to allow
    walkaway rights -- by which a team is not bound to an
    arbitrator's decision.  Arbitration would be available to players
    at age 24 or with five years experience (Mult., 1/5).  In
    Vancouver, Tony Gallagher adds that there is something "new and
    decidedly innovative" in the offer -- reportedly a mechanism
    which would kick in changes in the deal if salaries go up or down
    radically or players begin to "move around at a certain rate"
    (Vancouver PROVINCE, 1/5).    PESSIMISM DEPT.:  "Preliminary
    indications are that it doesn't look good for a settlement" (Jeff
    Jacobs, HARTFORD COURANT, 1/5).  One GM said the offer is "not
    enough."  Another GM:  "This won't create the drag we need"
    (CANADIAN PRESS/Vancouver PROVINCE, 1/5).  One NHL "insider":
    "It doesn't appear that very much has changed from their earlier
    proposals.  I don't expect the governors will approve it" (Dave
    Fay, WASHINGTON TIMES, 1/5).  In Toronto, Dave Fuller calls
    passage a "remote possibility since [the offer] doesn't include a
    luxury tax" (TORONTO SUN, 1/5).  One management source:  "I don't
    think we're going to have a deal" (Len Hochberg, WASHINGTON POST,
    1/5).
         OPTIMISM DEPT.:  The GLOBE & MAIL cites several NHL sources
    who said they "could not see how the owners would turn it down"
    (David Shoalts, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 1/5).  "The NHL seemed
    yesterday to be a league that was getting ready to play more than
    it was bracing for cancellation" (Frank Brown, N.Y. DAILY NEWS,
    1/5).
         THE STAKES FOR THE COMMISSIONER:  In Toronto, Al Strachan
    lays out the task facing Commissioner Bettman.  "If he took the
    deal to the owners right now, he could almost certainly get the
    50% support he needs for approval.  But he probably wouldn't get
    much more.  Looking ahead past the return of the game, Bettman is
    concerned for his own job security if he can't raise that
    percentage appreciably.  It's one thing to get a new collective
    bargaining agreement with a 14-12 majority.  It's another thing
    to try to run a league with 12 owners holding a grudge" (TORONTO
    SUN, 1/5).  One "moderate" NHL Governor told the N.Y. POST:
    "It's all in how he sells it. ... If he comes in and recommends a
    deal without a payroll tax; if he wants to position it, 'Look, we
    have enough,' it will pass" (Larry Brooks, N.Y. POST, 1/5).
         WILL NO MEAN NO?  "Many believed a rejection by the owners
    Saturday won't necessarily spell the end of the season" (Joe
    Gordon, BOSTON HERALD, 1/5).  Bruins President & GM Harry Sinden:
    "I am pretty certain this is it, but you never know.  Maybe they
    have another final offer" (Alan Adams, CP/VANCOUVER SUN, 1/5).
    Should the owners reject the players' proposal, talks could
    continue with the prospect of saving a 45- or 40-game season.
    "However, Bettman must be careful not to be perceived as the boy
    who cried wolf too many times" (Kevin Paul Dupont, BOSTON GLOBE,
    1/5).
    

    Print | Tags: Boston Bruins, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NHL
  • PGA OPENS '95 SEASON AMIDST CONTROVERSY

         In today's WASHINGTON POST, Leonard Shapiro examines the
    "dark clouds hovering on the horizon" for the PGA Tour as it
    begins its 1995 season today in Carlsbad, CA.  Those "dark
    clouds" refer to the four-year investigation by the Federal Trade
    Commission of tour rules regarding conflicting events and TV
    appearances and the proposed World Tour.  Results of the FTC
    investigation are expected "any day now" with the ruling expected
    to say that the rules "constitute a restraint of trade and are
    anti-competitive" (WASHINGTON POST, 1/5).
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, PGA Tour
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