SBD/9/Leagues Governing Bodies

BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 182: BACK TO CHAOS

     "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).
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