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BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- PART II: NEWS FROM ELEVEN
Published March 1, 1995
ATLANTA -- BORBONS ON THE ROCKS? While Pedro Borbon Sr. announced his intent to be a replacement player for the Reds, his son Pedro Jr., who is in the Braves' organization, remained on strike. Pedro Jr. on his father's comeback: "Shoot, if George Foreman can make a comeback, so can my dad."....Around 125 minor leaguers met with MLBPA General Council Gene Orza Tuesday night at the Palm Beach Airport Hilton, "many of them from the Braves' organization (I.J. Rosenberg, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 3/1). BALTIMORE -- 11 OF 12 WON'T PLAY: Eleven of the O's 12 exhibition opponents informed the team by fax yesterday that they would not play the Orioles this spring unless the team changes its policy of not fielding replacement players by 2pm EST today. The Rockies, who are scheduled to come to Camden Yards on April 2, were the only team not to respond. If there is no settlement this week, owners are expected to take a formal vote on replacement players next week at their meeting in Palm Beach. "Then at some point during the spring, the league likely will announce sanctions against Angelos for failing to prepare a team for the regular season. Angelos almost certainly would respond with a lawsuit." A.L. President Gene Budig declined comment on the issue (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 3/1). AL VP of Admin. & Media Affairs Phyllis Merhige said the teams have the right to cancel games and won't be penalized (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 3/1). CINCINNATI -- SCHOTT IN THE DARK? CINCINNATI POST columnist Joe Posnanski pans Reds GM Jim Bowden for his "joke" in signing Pedro Borbon, calling the move Bowden's "own fraternity prank": "You see, [Marge] Schott seemed to believe this was a serious signing. Apparently Bowden, that wacky, nutty jokester, failed to let her in on the joke, failed even to mention to her that Borbon is a blob who is a longshot to pass his physical" (CINCINNATI POST, 3/1). TORONTO STAR columnist Richard Griffin writes of the Borbon signing, "Yesterday, there were 27 other owners slapping their foreheads in unison wondering, 'What hath Schott wrought?'" (TORONTO STAR, 3/1). CLEVELAND -- GOOD SEATS STILL AVAILABLE: The Indians announced that ticket sales for Opening Day at Jacobs Field hit 35,000 and that tickets remain for all 82 regular season games (Indians). DETROIT -- PUT BUS IN DRIVE, EGOS IN CHECK: Around 30 Tigers are expected to make the 132-mile trip from Lakeland to Vero Beach for the team's first spring game. Tigers GM Joe Klein will not divulge how many minor-leaguers will make the trip, as opposed to replacement players. FREE PRESS columnist Charlie Vincent reports sending all replacements would, "in Klein's eyes," mean acquiescing to Don Fehr. Klein on Monday: "No one who needs written instructions how to put on a jockstrap is going to tell me how to run this franchise" (DETROIT FREE-PRESS, 2/28). MILWAUKEE -- CAMP CHAOS? Brewers Exec VP of Baseball Ops Sal Bando on the current spring training situation: "Right now, we have all our feet planted firmly in midair." Spring training is also being characterized as "resting comfortably somewhere between complete chaos and total uncertainty" (Michael Bauman, MILWAUKEE JOURNAL, 2/28). MINNESOTA -- WHO'S ON FIRST? The Twins have received commitments from "more than 20" minor-leaguers to play in spring games, according to an informal survey in today's STAR-TRIBUNE. Twins GM Terry Ryan said they have received commitments from "about half" of the 50 players they have asked (Jim Souhan, Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 3/1). MONTREAL -- ALOU TO STAY: Manager Felipe Alou said he will manage the Expos this year if the strike lasts into the regular season. Alou, who said baseball "hasn't seen any more Sparkys," referring to Sparky Anderson's refusal to manage replacements: "I have a contract and I have responsibilities that I can't walk away from. To me, this is a matter of conscience" (TORONTO STAR, 3/1). NEW YORK -- WILPON THE DIPLOMAT: Mets owner Fred Wilpon said yesterday he is "willing to compromise" and is a "moderate in wanting to see the game played again." Wilpon defended ownership, but said "he was dragged into accepting replacement baseball" (Jennifer Frey, N.Y. TIMES, 3/1). Dick Kraft, who resigned from the Yankees under public pressure last spring for reportedly "likening kids who hung and swung from rims on basketball courts across the street from Yankee Stadium to 'monkeys,'" was back at the Yankee offices yesterday. Yankees spokesperson Arthur Richman said Kraft would not be on the Yankee payroll, but be paid as a personal employee of George Steinbrenner (Joel Sherman, N.Y. POST, 3/1).... Beginning March 15, the Yankees will cut front office salaries by 10% (MIAMI HERALD, 3/1). PITTSBURGH -- LEYLAND SPEAKS OUT: Pirates Manager Jim Leyland on having to work with replacement players: "When you work for somebody, when you have a boss, you do what they say or you quit. I'm not going to quit, so I'll do what I'm told" (Bob Smizik, PITTSBURGH POST GAZETTE, 3/1). ST. LOUIS -- BETTER THAN HITCHHIKING: Minor league reliever Gary Buckels, who attended a Monday night meeting with players General Council Gene Orza said the union may help minor leaguers who are sent home for refusing to play with replacement players: "The union said something about financial aid, paying the way back, but they said it was still in the working stages. It sounds kind of vague" (Rick Hummel, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 3/1).