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BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 188: ON THE HILL AGAIN
Published February 15, 1995
As expected, Senate Judiciary Chair Orrin Hatch, and Sens. Pat Moynihan and Bob Graham introduced the first bipartisan legislation to address MLB's antitrust exemption. The bill would permit players to sue if the owners again attempt to implement an economic system. Hatch: "This would not affect baseball's ability to control franchise relocation, nor would it affect the minor leagues." The bill would not impose a settlement, but the players have promised to return if it passes -- probably resulting in a lockout by owners (Steve Daley, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/15). LOW EXPECTATIONS: Reaction among Hatch's Republican colleagues was less than favorable. Sen. Trent Lott, No. 2 in the Senate leadership: "Totally insane. We're not going to get in the middle of a baseball strike." Lott, who says he backs the idea of ending the exemption, said he would "not be part of a deal that would force one side or another into an agreement." House Speaker Newt Gingrich echoed Lott: "I'm not sure I want to use [Hatch's bill] as a club to beat up the owners on behalf of the players." House Judiciary Chair Henry Hyde said he would be willing to hold hearings on the exemption, but not until "later this year" (Steve Daley, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/15). MLB General Counsel Chuck O'Connor on the Hatch bill: "It's a straw man. It's a false issue. It deserves no attention because it is special-interest legislation" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 2/15). TODAY'S HEARING: Scheduled witnesses for today's baseball hearing before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Business and Competition: Moynihan, Sen. Nancy Kassebaum, Graham, Acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, Red Sox CEO John Harrington, former assistant Attorney General James Rill, MLBPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr, Royals Player Rep David Cone, Indians veteran Eddie Murray and former FTC General Counsel Kevin Arquit (USA TODAY, 2/15).