SBD/13/Leagues Governing Bodies

BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 214: M-I-C, SEE YOU IN COURT

     Baseball's owners and players are set to resume talks this
week at The Swan Hotel in Disney World, near Orlando.  There was
confusion, however, over whether the two sides would meet
tomorrow or Wednesday.  The owners' committee meets today with
Special Mediator William Usery to begin discussions on their
"best offer," which Usery requested be presented to the players
this week.  The schedule "may be further complicated" by the
expected ruling from the NLRB on the players' charge of unfair
labor practices against the owners.  NLRB General Counsel Fred
Feinstein is expected to issue a complaint against the owners,
followed immediately by a request to the Board that it seek an
injunction in U.S. District Court (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES,
3/13).  Management sources indicate if owners do present their
"best offer" to players, "it will be just that -- an offer with
little or no room to be diluted" (Bill Madden, N.Y. DAILY NEWS,
3/12).
     NOT AFRAID OF THE NLRB?  One owner:  "We know the NLRB will
always rule in favor of a union.  Our lawyers let us know that
the chances of management winning in front of this board are
slim.  But rulings don't mean beans.  It's what happens in court
that counts."  Murray Chass notes that the NLRB's success rate in
getting injunctions during FY '95 has been 83% (N.Y. TIMES,
3/12).  Tribune Co. attorney Robert Ballow reportedly told the
owners in Palm Beach:  "You've only had three NLRB complaints; we
never even take notice until we get to three figures" (BOSTON
GLOBE, 3/12).
     FEHR STRIKES OUT?  In Baltimore, Buster Olney writes, "The
union is in trouble, and unless an agreement is reached in the
very near future, its members could start jumping ship to save
themselves."  One agent, on MLBPA Exec Don Fehr:  "The best thing
that could happen now is for Don to walk away.  I don't know how
that can be done gracefully, but a change needs to be made"
(Baltimore SUN, 3/12).  Fehr:  "If I believed I was the problem I
would resign tomorrow.  But it's not that simple" (Peter Gammons,
BOSTON GLOBE, 3/12). In Atlanta, I.J. Rosenberg writes, "The
union's leverage has all but disappeared.  While the work
stoppage may go on for some time, when it does end it appears the
players will be the big losers" (ATL. CONSTITUTION, 3/12).
     OWNERSHIP STANDS FIRM:  ESPN's Peter Gammons:  "The message
at [the Palm Beach] meetings was that the owners really believe
they won no matter what the NLRB says and that they have gone too
far not to hold out for what they want" ("Sports Weekly," 3/12).
In his GLOBE column, Gammons quotes one moderate owner:  "The
union has driven us to this point.  Look at McMorris and [Red Sox
CEO John] Harrington.  They started out in the same camp as [the
Mets'] Fred Wilpon and [the Orioles'] Peter Angelos, but after
seven months of negotiating with these guys are hard-line in
their resolve to get a meaningful deal."  Gammons notes, "While
the owners don't know that the center of the union is indeed
falling apart, they are proceeding on that theory" (BOSTON GLOBE,
3/12).  One source close to the talks says the time for a deal
was in Scottsdale:  "Fehr had his shot.  Now the window of
opportunity is closed, and (the owners) want to break the union"
(Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 3/11).
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