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BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 194: TALKS RESUME TODAY
Published February 21, 1995
Negotiating teams for the owners and players will meet today at Milwaukee's Pfister Hotel at 4pm EST. The groups will reportedly be smaller than past sessions (Mult., 2/21). Owner Jerry McMorris: "I personally wouldn't look for a deal to happen in the next two days." CNN's Fred Hickman said MLBPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr told CNN not to expect any major developments ("Sports Tonight," CNN, 2/20). WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? Peter Gammons writes that the owners' replacement plan "is turning out to be just another bad idea turned worse. ... While the strike is engineered for the Minnesotas, Milwaukees, Pittsburghs, etc., the Yankees, Dodgers, Orioles and Blue Jays don't buy into it. And what are the Brewers and Twins going to do with their replacement players if the markets that drive the industry don't participate?" Gammons calls William Usery's plan a "framework" for a deal, but the players will probably "want to wait to get down to hard-core bargaining until the NLRB comes down and the replacement farce begins, which may vastly restore their leverage" (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/19). SPARKY REAX: Several columnists and baseball observers sounded off on Tigers Manager Sparky Anderson's decision to take an unpaid leave rather than manage replacement players. In Washington, Thomas Boswell writes, "Maybe, just maybe, his profile in character will be the catalytic act of spiritual meditation that baseball so desperately needs" (WASHINGTON POST, 2/19). In New York, Mike Lupica calls Anderson the "conscience of the game" (N.Y. NEWSDAY, 2/20). But Bill Madden wonders whether it "was simply his means of leaving an organization he no longer wanted to be a part of -- on his terms" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/20). Peter Gammons: "I would be a little surprised if he were offered his job back" (ESPN, 2/19). But Stephen Brunt counters: "None of that subtext matters. For public consumption, the impression remains that Anderson simply couldn't stomach what was happening" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 2/21). NEWS & NOTES: The MLBPA was criticized for its position that minor league players who participate in spring training games will be considered strikebreakers. Mets Manager Dallas Green said he told MLBPA Exec Dir Don Fehr, "It's totally unfair of the union to ask (minor leaguers) to sacrifice when in fact they are not under your protection" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/21)....The union also announced that other unions may handle the picketing outside ballparks, which Jack Etkin & Tracy Ringolsby refer to as "replacement pickets." MLBPA General Counsel Gene Orza: "There's a security problem involved. The players would just be out there exposed" (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 2/20). NO LAUGHING MATTER: The replacement players have become a staple for late-night comedy. Jay Leno, on Friday: "You know things are bad when Tommy Lasorda is thinner than any other guy on the team" ("Tonight," NBC, 2/17). Leno, last night: "You can tell these replacements don't have the hang of professional baseball. I was watching the news today and one of them signed an autograph for free. ... Last year when everyone laughed when Michael Jordan said he would be the greatest professional baseball player? Well, now he is" ("Tonight," 2/20). Last night's Letterman Top Ten was "Signs You Are Not Watching A Real Baseball Game": 10) You recognize batter as the kid who sold you a hot dog a couple minutes earlier; 9) Everytime a player slides into second, he busts his hip; 8) They keep shouting "Do Over!"; 7) When umpire yells, "Strike 3!", batter looks at him as though the dude's speakin' French; 6) Try as they might, they just can't scratch themselves like professionals; 5) First Base: Siskel, Second Base: Ebert; 4) Game stops when some lady in a house near the stadium shouts "Dinner Time"; 3) Players constantly adjusting each others's cups; 2) You overhear the coach yelling, "Run, Forrest, Run!"; 1) They play like the Mets ("Late Night," CBS, 2/20)