SBD/1/Leagues Governing Bodies

BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 174: SIGNING FREEZE STAYS

     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).
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