SBD/6/Leagues Governing Bodies

BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 179: LOOMING 5 O'CLOCK SHADOW

     While President Clinton has set a 5:00pm EST deadline for a
settlement, no new negotiating meetings were scheduled as of last
night, according to Mark Maske in this morning's WASHINGTON POST.
Clinton has asked Special Mediator William Usery for a
recommendation if an agreement is not reached by the deadline.
Owners and players "remain so far apart they spent much of
yesterday preparing suggestions to present to Usery, not each
other" (WASHINGTON POST, 2/6).  While there was talk of a "late-
night push ... tempers flared and negotiations appeared to break
down" when the players lifted their signing freeze and the owners
countered with a freeze of their own (Peter Schmuck, Baltimore
SUN, 2/6).
     MORNING UPDATE:  At 10:05am EST, CNN's Mark Morgan reported
that Usery will first meet with Clinton about the "finer" points
of his recommendation.  He then will meet with player and owner
reps to "possibly make a few changes" that both sides can agree
on, and then continue talks from there.  Morgan notes that Acting
MLB Commissioner Bud Selig joins the talks this morning.  Morgan
said if Clinton can come up with terms of a recommended
settlement and both sides can agree to continue talks from that
point, then "that is obviously meaningful progress. ... But as
far as a settlement today, that's highly unlikely" (CNN, 2/6).
Labor Secretary Robert Reich appeared on "Good Morning America"
to discuss the basbeall situation.  While he stressed that the
Clinton administration's desire that the two sides settle the
dispute without the need for Congress or President to get
involved (ABC, 2/6).  Orioles Owner Peter Angelos appeared on
"CBS This Morning."  On the possibility of a deal by 5pm: "I
believe it's possible.  Will it happen? I believe there's a 50/50
chance" (CBS, 2/6).
     USERY'S PLAN:  Usery conducted separate meetings with
players and owners, asking them for their "bottom-line positions
on the critical issues."  From that, he will draw up a settlement
and submit it to Clinton (Ross Newhan, L.A. TIMES, 2/6).  ESPN's
Peter Gammons: "There are some definite hammers over the owners.
First of all, if they don't make a deal right now, they're likely
to have to go back to the old system, which they said they would
never live another day under.  I got the distinct impression that
the players were a lot happier with their preliminary meetings
with Reich and Usery than the owners were" ("SportsCenter," 2/5).
In Denver, Tracy Ringolsby writes, "An eventual settlement can be
expected to include a salary tax along the line of what the
owners have been seeking, although at a lesser rate, with
concessions to the players that could include expanded
unrestricted free agency to replace arbitration, involvement of
the union in such matters as selection of a commissioner, and
possibly a waiver of the owners' antitrust exemption in regard to
labor matters" (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 2/6).  In New York, Murray
Chass reports that the players "have gridgingly accepted the idea
of a tax, but they have no desire to see it be so high that it
would inhibit clubs from spending freely on salaries" (N.Y.
TIMES, 2/6).  Mike Lupica:  "I don't think [both sides] want the
president to settle it.  But I think they're afraid of what the
president might do if they don't settle it" ("Sports Reporters,"
ESPN, 2/5).  The largest stumbling block appears to be the
percentage of taxation on payrolls (Jayson Stark, PHILA.
INQUIRER, 2/6).  There is speculation Usery will include a tax of
approx. 25% above a payroll threshold of $37M (WASHINGTON POST,
2/6).
     LIFTING THE BAN:  MLBPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr said
management's signing freeze "represented collusion under terms of
the old agreement," and there are a "multitude of legal avenues
the union can pursue and will, starting with the NLRB."  MLB
General Counsel Chuck O'Connor said management was acting as one:
"This action is taken at a point in time when clubs do act in
concert -- it's called collective bargaining" (Ross Newhan, L.A.
TIMES, 2/6).
     REEBOK TOUR:  Peter Gammons notes the players' barnstorming
deal is close to being done.  "They have 90 percent of their
insurance in place. ... They have four spring training sites in
place, and by the middle of this week hope to have completed
their barnstorming venues across the country and announce a
schedule" (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/5).
Return to top
Video Powered By - Castfire CMS Powered By - Sitecore

Report a Bug