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BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 211: USERY UNLOADS ON OWNERS
Published March 10, 1995
Special Mediator William Usery addressed the owners at their meeting in Palm Beach, FL, for 30 minutes yesterday, and, as expected, he urged them to make their "best offer" when negotiations resume. What was not expected was Usery's "emotional and somewhat irritated" appearance at a press conference later. Usery: "After 30-something years in this process and over 1,000 national major disputes in America, this one has gotten almost for us where it's embarrassing and ridiculous" (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 3/10). Acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and Rockies Owner Jerry McMorris, who is heading the owners' negotiating team, said they would comply with Usery's request. But Murray Chass notes, "It's what would happen after they make their 'best offer' that could have an impact on the progression of the talks." According to a source at the meeting, Chuck O'Connor, management's chief attorney, suggested the negotiating committee "make its 'best offer' to satisfy Usery, but then not budge from that offer." That position "would confirm the fears" of the union (N.Y. TIMES, 3/10). ESPN's Peter Gammons: "A lot of owners think they see a victorious end-game now. ... After they make the 'best' offer next week and get it rejected, you may see the owners declare another impasse, implement this proposal and have something in place if the players cross" ("SportsCenter," 3/9). WHERE NOW? In Denver, Tracy Ringolsby reports the talks will resume Tuesday -- most likely in Dallas or Atlanta (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 3/10).