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BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 196: IT'S ON TO SCOTTSDALE
Published February 23, 1995
"The two days in Milwaukee may just have been the two most productive days of the labor dispute thus far," writes Andy Fenlon in this morning's MILWAUKEE SENTINEL. Rockies Owner Jerry McMorris, who had a "positive" feeling after the talks: "I don't want to be portrayed as being too optimistic, though. I think we'll have a better sense at the talks next week when we get into some negotiating. We haven't had any negotiating here. It's mostly been just clearing the air." Notes Fenlon, "That may appear to be very slight progress. But any amount of progress with these two groups could be considered a monumental step forward" (MILWAUKEE SENTINEL, 2/23). The two sides agreed to resume formal talks Monday in Scottsdale, AZ. Officials from both sides left Milwaukee "convinced that everyone involved would like to make a serious, last-gasp effort to compromise" before the owners implement their replacement player plans (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 2/23). The Scottsdale talks will reportedly be held at a secret location, "off-limits to the media" (Hal Bodley, USA TODAY, 2/23). ESPN's Bob Sirkin reported that acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig will be in AZ, but that Special Mediator Bill Usery had no comment when asked if he will continue to mediate ("SportsCenter," 2/22). SHATTERING THE CALM: MLBPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr said he would prefer to "ignore" comments from White Sox Owner Jerry Reinsdorf that he has "a pathological hatred for baseball owners." In an interview with the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, Reinsdorf said the only hope of saving the season "is if the players come to the realization that they are being misled by Fehr" (Dan Bickley, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 2/22). Fehr: "Nothing does my credibility more good with the players than to be criticized by Reinsdorf. ... Listen, Jerry wants to pick a fight and he's entitled to try. But I'm at a stage (where) I prefer to ignore him" (Mike Kiley, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/23). In New York, Murray Chass writes that the "goodwill and wishful thinking" expressed by Fehr and Selig "could be buried" by Reinsdorf (N.Y. TIMES, 2/23). In Washington, Mark Maske writes, "That kind of animosity is what the owners' and players' representatives were trying to overcome in their meetings" (WASHINGTON POST, 2/23). CNN's Mark Morgan in Milwaukee: "An otherwise pleasant atmosphere was darkened a little bit" ("Sports Tonight," CNN, 2/22). MORE FROM REINSDORF: On charges they are trying to bust the union: "Nobody wants to bust the union. We need a union. If this one didn't exist, we'd have to have another. ... But we would like the players to say to the union, 'You're not serving us properly.'" On the view he is behind the owners' position: "I fail to understand why the union is setting me up, other than they need a common enemy." On the future: "The interesting thing is we have an asset that has a perpetual life, and that's the franchise. The players have an asset that's diminishing. We have forever to recover what we're losing. The players have only the balance of their careers" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 2/22). WHAT'S SO FUNNY? Jay Leno: "Did you ever read the inscription on [the Statue of Liberty]? It says send us your poor, your tired, your weak, your hudled masses and we will make them major league baseball players! ... If those replacement players were smart, they should go on strike and demand more money. What are the owners going to do, hire replacement- replacement players" ("Tonight," NBC, 2/22).