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BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 195: HISTORY, THEN DINNER
Published February 22, 1995
Talks in the baseball labor dispute resumed in Milwaukee yesterday "with no promises but some mention of progress." For the owners: Acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, Red Sox CEO John Harrington and Rockies Owner Jerry McMorris. For the players: MLBPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr and MLBPA attorney Lauren Rich (Dale Hoffman, MILWAUKEE SENTINEL, 2/22). Selig reported that much of the meeting was spent "venting" on baseball's rancorous labor history: "Today was a catharsis for both sides" (Mike Kiley, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/22). CNN's Nick Charles: "As predicted, nothing dramatic happened" ("Sports Tonight," 2/21). ESPN's Bob Sirkin: "Tuesday's so-called 'therapy session' lasted over four hours and ended with both sides going out to dinner -- together" ("Sports Center," ESPN, 2/21). LOOK FOR THE UNION LABEL: While Teamsters officials said they would not cross picket lines to make deliveries to MLB stadiums this season, they expressed unhappiness with the MLBPA's decision not to have players on the picket lines (GANNETT/USA TODAY, 2/22). Braves President Stan Kasten said if MLBPA General Counsel Gene Orza does arrange for replacement picketers, "it'd be the first person he'd gotten a job for since August" (Henry Unger, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 2/22). In Washington, Michael Wilbon notes the players' history of non-support for other strikes: "They want other unions to support them, but they'll have the team bus drive them right through somebody else's picket line at a stadium and not even step off to look their 'brothers' in the eye" (WASHINGTON POST, 2/22). In St. Louis, Bernie Miklasz writes of replacement pickets: "Let's just say that Donald Fehr is no Cesar Chavez" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 2/22). CANADIAN AD MARKET DRIES UP: Media buyers estimate that Canadian broadcasters could be out as much as C$100M in ad revenue if the season starts with replacements. For example, Bell Canada will put baseball advertising "on hold" until the regular players return. Labatt, which has ownership in the SkyDome and Blue Jays, will also refrain from advertising on replacement games. As for broadcasters, Baton Broadcasting, which carries about 60 of 145 Blue Jays and Expos TV games, will probably not carry replacement games. TSN is also expected to pass on replacement baseball (Marina Strauss, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 2/22). CONGRESSIONAL STATS: USA TODAY surveyed the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on their positions on the Hatch- Moynihan bill, which would lift baseball's antitrust exemption in labor matters. SUPPORTERS: Hatch (R-UT), Thurmond (R-SC), Leahy (D-VT). OPPOSED: Specter (R-PA), Simon (D-IL), Feinstein (D- CA), Heflin (D-AL). UNDECIDED: Brown (R-CO), Grassley (R-IA), DeWine (R-OH), Kyl (R-AZ), Thompson (R-TN), Abraham (R-MI), Feingold (D-WI). OTHERS: Simpson (R-WY) supports repeal, but not during the strike. Biden (D-DE) wants to examine all sports, not just baseball. Kennedy (D-MA) voted against the bill last June but supports mandatory binding arbitration. Kohl (D-WI) has recused himself because of his relationship with Bud Selig and his position as owner of the NBA Bucks (USA TODAY, 2/22).