SBD/28/Leagues Governing Bodies

BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 201: THE SCOTTSDALE TALKS

     Negotiations resumed at the home of acting MLB Commissioner
Bud Selig in Scottsdale, AZ.  The "civility" seen during two days
of talks in Milwaukee continued, but neither side wished to
characterize any progress in the dispute.  The MLBPA delegation
includes MLBPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr, MLBPA attorney Lauren Rich,
and players Paul Molitor, Terry Steinbach and Jay Bell.  The
owners are represented by Selig, Red Sox CEO John Harrington,
Rockies Owner Jerry McMorris, Braves President Stan Kasten and
management attorneys Chuck O'Connor and Rob Manfred.  In L.A.,
Ross Newhan reports that Fehr left his hotel with Rich and
McMorris "for what was suspected to be a clandestine session out
of the media spotlight" (L.A. TIMES, 2/28).  ESPN's Bob Sirkin
reported the union believes "that before management is really
ready to make a deal, they will first have to witness the failure
of exhibition and regular season games using replacement players"
("SportsCenter," 2/27).
     THE SHADOW:  White Sox Owner Jerry Reinsdorf was at the
hotel on the grounds, but did not participate.  Reinsdorf:  "I
live here.  They brought the talks down here and it would be rude
if I didn't come over and say hello."  Murray Chass writes that
people on both sides believe the timing of Reinsdorf's comments
last week, in which he said Fehr had a "pathological hatred" of
ownership, "was more than coincidental" and that Reinsdorf might
have been sending a message to owners "that they shouldn't get
soft now."  One management source says that Reinsdorf claims to
have nine owners pledged to block a settlement they don't like
(N.Y. TIMES, 2/28).  In Washington, Mark Maske reports
speculation that the comments were a "plot by Selig and Reinsdorf
to irritate Fehr and ruin any chance of a settlement.  Others
guessed that Selig had split with Reinsdorf and now desperately
wants to reach a compromise" (WASHINGTON POST, 2/28).  One
"union-friendly agent":  "I think Jerry's throwing grenades at
the end trying to save his coalition" (Dave van Dyck, CHICAGO
SUN-TIMES, 2/27).
     MEANWHILE, BACK IN WASHINGTON:  Murray Chass examines the
likely fallout when NLRB General Counsel Fred Feinstein issues
his decision on the unfair labor charge against the owners.
People on both sides expect Feinstein to issue a complaint
against the owners and to seek an injunction forcing the clubs to
restore the rule that existed before they implemented their
salary cap.  A complaint would lead the NLRB and the owners to
court, with a judge's ruling possible by March 15.  A court-
approved injunction would bring the players back, and face the
owners with the decision whether to lock the players out and risk
being liable for back pay plus interest (N.Y. TIMES, 2/28).
     MEAN GENE:  MLBPA General Counsel Gene Orza, who called
Special Mediator William Usery "senile" during the last round of
talks, was not in Scottsdale.  Rather, Orza was running meetings
with minor-leaguers in FL and AZ (I.J. Rosenberg, ATLANTA
CONSTITUTION, 2/28).  Orza, on criticism of the union position:
"Oh, come now, minor-leaguers are being asked to do something
terribly different than in the past.  Minor-leaguers would not be
in camp under normal circumstances" (Paul Sullivan, CHICAGO
TRIBUNE, 2/28).
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