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BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 176: MORE PRESSURE FROM CLINTON
Published February 3, 1995
"Amid mounting pressure from the nearby White House, negotiators for the baseball owners and players put the central issue of management's proposed luxury tax on hold Thursday while narrowing differences on issues classified as non-economic," reports Ross Newhan of the L.A. TIMES. Both MLBPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr and the owners' lead negotiator Red Sox CEO John Harrington said Special Mediator William Usery has made it clear, once again, that President Clinton "expects a settlement or significant progress" by his Monday deadline. Harrington called the White House pressure "Heavy, heavy pressure." Fehr: "Usery emphasized in extremely strong language that the President expects this to be resolved" (L.A. TIMES, 2/3). Usery made his comments after an afternoon meeting with Clinton aides. Usery also "rejected a union suggestion that it might be best to wait an additional week" before a 3rd-party effort was made to settle (Tracy Ringolsby, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 2/3). YESTERDAY'S SESSION: Fehr said the union would not respond to the owners' two-tiered luxury tax proposal until today or Saturday, but he did report that several non-economic areas of disagreement had been "narrowed." As for the economic system, Fehr said their proposal will determine whether the two sides are within "shouting distance" (Peter Schmuck, Baltimore SUN, 2/3). SOME WEEKEND HOPE: Harrington: "In negotiations, things get done at the last minute. They may not always get done in the best possible manner. But once the larger issues get resolved, things can happen very quickly" (PHILA. INQUIRER, 2/3). One MLB owner said he expects a settlement this weekend (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 2/3). AN USERY RESOLUTION? In Washington, Thom Loverro examines a possible Usery-forced solution. "There is a strong belief among some close to the talks that his settlement would be far better than anything the players could get from the owners." Privately, some management officials believe that it will "ultimately come" to an Usery settlement (WASHINGTON TIMES, 2/3). ESPN's Peter Gammons thinks the Clinton deadline will pass and calls the first week of March key because that is when "teams are going to try to force top minor league players to play with replacement players and it's not going to work. Then, I think all the pressure on replacement players may cause the owners to force a settlement" ("SportsCenter," 2/2). NEWS & NOTES: Padres President Larry Lucchino said the club would consider having the team's manager and coaches not work with replacements (WASHINGTON POST, 2/3)....Two IL state legislators have introduced a bill that would strip Comiskey Park of $27M in state aid while replacement players play in the park (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/3).