SBD/7/Leagues Governing Bodies

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  • ARE SOME OWNERS READY TO RAVITCH MLB COUNSEL O'CONNOR?

         Three separate reports this morning note some owners are
    unhappy with MLB General Counsel Chuck O'Connor's legal advice.
    According to one AL owner, a "considerable number" of clubs have
    begun a "review of the record" during MLB's long affiliation with
    O'Connor's firm, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius and supposedly, the
    Tribune Co. (owner of the Cubs) is "pressing for removal" of
    O'Connor in favor of one of their own reps, Robert Ballow of King
    & Ballow of Nashville. One union lawyer, referring to Ballow's
    "union-busting reputation," said bringing him in "would be an act
    of nuclear war" (Ross Newhan, L.A. TIMES, 2/7).  MLB spokesperson
    Rich Levin said it is "absolutely untrue" that the owners have
    any plans to replace O'Connor.  Levin did say of Ballow:  "He's
    been consulted for a number of months, but [O'Connor's firm]
    remains our main lawyers" (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 2/7).
    

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  • BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 180: ANOTHER LINE IN THE SAND

         Special Mediator William Usery will deliver his recommended
    solution to end the strike to President Clinton at 3:00pm ET.
    While Usery "deferred" on announcing his recommendations
    yesterday "saying he 'simply ran out of time' to prepare them
    fully,"  Jayson Stark reports there were indications that Usery
    "had, in fact, drawn up his plan and that the deadline was
    extended because the White House discovered it might not have the
    political muscle to back up the President's show of force."
    Senate Judiciary Chair Orrin Hatch "made it clear" that Clinton
    would have a "difficult battle on his hands trying to get a bill
    of that sort through Congress":  "I don't think it's our role to
    impose any plan on anybody" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 2/7).  I.J.
    Rosenberg also reported that the reasons for the delay "appeared
    to be political" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 2/7).
         TROUBLE FOR CLINTON?  A senior White House official admitted
    that if Usery's recommendation is rejected by both or either
    sides, Clinton may not be able to impose a settlement (Ross
    Newhan, L.A. TIMES, 2/7).  Rep. John Boehner, the 4th ranking
    House Republican, suggested that the House leadership is against
    intervention: "Disputes between labor and management ought to be
    resolved between labor and management" (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON
    POST, 2/7).  REUTERS' Robert Green reports, "Clinton's options
    for imposing a settlement were limited, and indeed, the parties'
    failure to meet his deadline underscored his political weakness"
    (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 2/7).  White House Chief of Staff Leon
    Panetta:  "The president's alternative is to make a strong
    recommendation to the Congress either with regards to binding
    arbitration or trying to impose the settlement that Mr. Usery is
    working with."  NBC's Jim Miklaszewski: "The best the President
    can do really is to use the bully pulpit, to try to convince
    Congress, the players and the owners to end this thing.  But ...
    at this point it looks like that may be the only opening pitch
    the President makes all season" ("Today," NBC, 2/7).
         CLINTON UN-PLUGGED:  NEWSDAY's Mike Lupica interviewed
    Clinton over the weekend and mentioned to the president that his
    intervention could be an act of what a commissioner would do.
    Clinton:  "Maybe that's a positive impact, somebody acting like
    the commissioner" (N.Y. NEWSDAY, 2/5).       THE USERY PLAN:  As
    for the terms of any settlement offered by Usery, "splitting the
    differences in half would not fly with the union."  MLBPA General
    Counsel Gene Orza: "That would be rewarding the owners for going
    backward and penalizing the players for going forward" (Tom
    Keegan, N.Y. POST, 2/7).  Braves Player Rep Tom Glavine said the
    players do not want the government to get involved: "It's in our
    own best interests to get an agreement ourselves" (CHICAGO
    TRIBUNE, 2/7).  Orza said the union submitted a "narrative" on
    nine crucial areas to Usery:  a payroll tax, salary arbitration,
    free agency, the length of the agreement, governance/"industry
    growth fund," pension, revenue-sharing, non-economic issues, and
    strike settlement issues (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 2/7).
    Rockies owner Jerry McMorris, on Usery's recommendation:  "I hope
    that it's one that we can live with.  We can't destroy the game,
    we can't make the game unaffordable, we can't take the game to
    where it's not accessible to people or to where it's not
    competitive.  So, it has to meet certain criteria for us"
    ("Sports Babe," ESPN Radio, 2/6). ESPN's Peter Gammons: "The
    owners have to abide by the proposal, eventually.  I think that
    even though they may not end up getting what they want, it's
    going to be very hard for them to fight the president"
    ("SportsCenter," 2/6).
         NLRB FIGHT:  The union re-filed its unfair labor charge
    against the owners with the NLRB over management's signing
    freeze.  In Baltimore, Peter Schmuck questions why MLB issued a
    freeze after the union lifted its freeze:  "Management sources
    said that [MLB General Counsel Chuck] O'Connor did it simply to
    delay the reimplementation of the old economic system, hoping
    that the issue would become moot when a new settlement is
    reached.  He apparently was shocked that the union took such
    offense" (Baltimore SUN, 2/7).
         BUSINESS OF BASEBALL:  In a full-page examination of the
    economics of the sport, the WASHINGTON POST's Charles Babcock and
    David Hilzenrath report that owners and players "are worlds apart
    in their assessments of the game's economic condition and neither
    side's position reflects the complete picture of baseball's
    finances."  They do note that numbers provided by management run
    counter to the owners' claims of "spiraling salaries."  According
    to the POST's analysis, player pay in relation to revenues was
    projected to decline 3% in total dollars in '94.  MLB's Rich
    Levin:  "How can that be?" (WASHINGTON POST, 2/6).
    

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