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BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- PART II: MINOR LEAGUERS IN A PICKLE
Published February 22, 1995
ATLANTA -- CLUBHOUSE STEAM: Braves GM John Schuerholz reacted angrily to the MLBPA's position that any minor-leaguer that plays in a spring training game will be considered a "strikebreaker": "I'll be damned if I'm going to have a mean- spirited union use young players in our organization as a tool in a derailment of baseball, and at the same time have it be ruinous to a young man's career" (I.J. Rosenberg, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 2/22). BALTIMORE -- NO PRESSURE: The Orioles said they will permit their minor-leaguers to sit out exhibition games if they so choose. But, owner Peter Angelos said all players "will be strongly encouraged by the Orioles to play" (Peter Schmuck, Baltimore SUN, 2/22). CHICAGO -- NO PRESSURE, II: White Sox GM Ron Schueler "said there would be no repercussions against those who decline to play" in spring games. Schueler: "Our policy is to keep everything intact" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 2/22). CLEVELAND -- TRIBE TIX SALES DOWN: Indians spring training ticket sales are down about 40% from last spring, according to Indians Spring Training Manager Jerry Crabb (Paul Hoynes, Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 2/21). FLORIDA -- CROSS THAT LINE: The Marlins are expecting some of their major league players to cross the line in mid-March. Marlins GM Dave Dombrowski: "Sometimes you have to ask yourself, even though you're being represented (by the union), are they representing you in your best interest? I think there is more than one player out there who has asked himself that question." Marlins Player Rep Bryan Harvey said the team was just trying to "get somebody to cross and break the union" (Amy Niedkielka, MIAMI HERALD, 2/22). NEW YORK -- OFFER THEY CAN'T REFUSE: While Mets GM Joe McIlvane said there would be no fines or punishment for minor- leaguers who don't play in exhibition games, to which Mets Asst GM Gerry Hunsicker agreed. But Hunsicker added: "The players have to understand not playing may not be in their best interest" (John Giannone, N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/22). SAN DIEGO -- SEEN IT, DONE IT: Columnist Nick Canepa writes, "I might be willing to give the replacement player idea a try -- if I hadn't already seen it. The Padres (unofficially) tried it here last year and the year before and it didn't work" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 2/22). SAN FRANCISCO -- SOLIDARITY WATCH: Giants pitcher Dave Burba, asked if the players can hold on until licensing checks arrive in mid-April: "Personally, I wouldn't cross the line, but there are some guys thinking about it" (Mark Gonzales, SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 2/22). SEATTLE -- BEAN-BILLS: Two bills are before the WA Legislature aimed at pressuring owners: one to prevent teams of non-MLB players from playing in the Kingdome or other publicly funded facilities; the other to prohibit Mariner management from advertising a replacement team as "Major League" (Jonathan Martin, Tacoma NEWS TRIBUNE, 2/21). TORONTO -- DUNEDIN CHECKS OUT: AL consultant Dick Wagner, AL umpiring chief Marty Springstead and AL Dir of Finance Derek Irwin toured 6,200-seat Dunedin Stadium and said they found it adequate for MLB games. Writes Larry Millson, "All at once it was pathetic, stupid, sad and funny" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 2/22).