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BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 174: SIGNING FREEZE STAYS
Published February 1, 1995
The MLBPA "left little doubt yesterday that it is willing to remain on strike until ownership retreats or the government imposes a settlement," writes Peter Schmuck in this morning's Baltimore SUN. The union's executive board voted yesterday to maintain the signing freeze for all free agents for an indefinite period. Writes Schmuck, "The embargo may eventually result in a talent glut if a settlement is reached -- and perhaps even work to ownership's advantage --but the players have chosen to keep it in effect on principle" (Baltimore SUN, 2/1). BACK TO THE TABLE: Collective bargaining negotiations resume today in downtown Washington. The owners met yesterday to finalize a new proposal that they will present today (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 2/1). Rockies Owner Jerry McMorris: "It'll be viewed as a significant move on our part." Red Sox CEO John Harrington: "We're not trying to turn the clock back in terms of player salaries, but to inhibit the growth of player salaries." But CNN's Mark Morgan reported, "Unless there is dramatic movement here this week, it appears the only players taking the field will be replacements" ("Sports Tonight," CNN, 1/31). Union reps declined to discuss their position, but a source said they would not remove a December 22 offer of a limited luxury tax (Tracy Ringolsby, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 2/1). In Philadelphia, Jayson Stark suggests that yesterday's moves show that the players "don't expect an end to this strike anytime soon" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 2/1). MORE FROM THE PLAYERS: The union will notify players not to report to spring training, and will ask players with minor-league contracts not to play in MLB exhibitions that start March 3, if the strike is still on (Michael Sznajderman, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 2/1). MLBPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr also indicated the union will go ahead with a Monday meeting with managers and coaches to discuss the possibility of cutting them off from union benefits if they work with replacements (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 2/1). ... AND IN WASHINGTON: Senate Judiciary Chair Orrin Hatch indicated yesterday that any effort by President Clinton to end the strike will "have support in the Senate" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 2/1). NLRB General Counsel Fred Feinstein is expected to rule next week on the players' charges of unfair labor practices (USA TODAY, 2/1). NEWS & NOTES: Former player Bert Blyleven: "It's time that players look at their overall pool of the total revenue that's out there. If the owners are willing to give fifty-percent of that pool, than something has to be worked around that. As a fan now I look at it that both sides are really in the wrong" ("Press Box," PRIME, 1/31)....ESPN noted a WMVP-radio (Chicago) report on the format for the striking players all-star tour: Four teams of 32 players each playing a 60-game round-robin season with four games a weekend starting May 15 ("SportsCenter," 1/31)....The Mets announced that fans who purchase regular-priced tickets will be eligible for a 2/3 rebate should the season start with replacements (N.Y. TIMES, 2/1).