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BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 182: BACK TO CHAOS
Published February 9, 1995
"Left with no other recourse," President Clinton proposed legislation Wednesday to create an independent panel of three neutral arbitrators to settle the dispute. But House Speaker Newt Gingrich "and his Republican cohorts have made it clear they don't want to get" involved in the baseball mess (Tom Haudricourt, MILWAUKEE SENTINEL, 2/9). PROBLEMS IN CONGRESS, FOR NOW: ABC's Brit Hume: "The president ... was careful today not to criticize Republicans leaders for their hesitance." Clinton: "They should be reluctant. I was reluctant, we're all reluctant. If we had a baseball commissioner, none of us would have been in here." ABC's John Cochran: "Republicans know that, come warm weather, the country may demand that they 'Play Ball' with the president" (2/8). Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL): "Congress has played a role by allowing this anti-trust exemption to continue, we should now play an affirmative role in resolving this dispute" ("Business Insiders," CNBC, 2/8). CNN's Mark Morgan: "It seems highly unlikely, if not impossible, that an arbitration bill would pass through Congress. The men and women on the Hill disagree just as much as baseball's owners and players" (CNN, 2/8). USERY'S FATE: Special Mediator William Usery "so incensed" the union with what it saw as a "pro-ownership proposal that the union is expected to remove him from further participation." Braves Player Rep Tom Glavine: "I don't see how we can take him seriously now" (Thomas Stinson, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 2/9). Dick Conn, spokesperson for Usery, said Usery did consider withdrawing from the process, but Congressional and Clinton officials have urged him to stay on (Ross Newhan, L.A. TIMES, 2/9). WHAT ABOUT SPRING TRAINING? According to Ron Pies, President of the Cactus League Association in AZ, advance ticket sales are only 20% behind last year: "These numbers are encouraging. This shows that there is more of an interest in baseball than in some of the top name players." Brad Smidt, an economic development specialist in AZ: "I still think a lot of people come out here for the weather. They're going to go to the games no matter what." AZ hotels say bookings for the six weeks of spring training "remain strong" (Lawrence Rocca, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 2/9).