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BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 215: NLRB CALLS TIME-OUT
Published March 14, 1995
NLRB General Counsel Fred Feinstein "is expected to announce today that he is issuing a complaint against baseball's owners for unfair labor practice and will seek an injunction that would compel the owners to reinstate the terms and conditions of the old labor agreement with the players," writes Ross Newhan of the L.A. TIMES. The NLRB action means a postponement in talks. While MLBPA Exec Dir Don Fehr said he believed they could resume Wednesday, management representatives claimed it would time to reassess the NLRB's decision. Should Feinstein get the NLRB's approval to pursue an injunction, both sides could be in U.S. District Court in Manhattan "within two weeks." The players have said that if they receive an injunction, they would end the strike -- thus leading to a possible lockout by ownership. Red Sox CEO John Harrington said a lockout would depend on "options open to us at the time": "There are some scenarios where there wouldn't be a lockout and a whole lot of scenarios where there would be" (L.A. TIMES, 3/14). O'Connor said it was "unbelievable" talks would be held up (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 3/14). WHERE THINGS STOOD: The union staff plans to meet with "high-profile" players tonight and maybe tomorrow in Orlando. "The players continue to put up a bold front, but their negotiating position appears to be deteriorating" (Peter Schmuck, Baltimore SUN, 3/14). Several agents denied that an increasing number of players and agents were pressuring Fehr to make a deal. One agent said the union has been listening to "suggestions." Sources said the player meetings will also deal with the status of a proposed barnstorming tour. Jayson Stark reports that Reebok, the original sponsor, "has backed off. But the union may have found a way to keep the possibility of the tour alive" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 3/14). On Monday, the owners "apparently thought they were in a good position" until word of the NLRB announcement. "A negotiating team was in place and owners seemed confident they could make a deal on their terms" (Larry Whiteside, BOSTON GLOBE, 3/14). HAD ENOUGH? Phillies President Bill Giles expressed his frustration with the latest delay: "I may get dramatic on my own. I'm just fed up. This is killing me. I've been thinking about a lot of things. I'll see what happens in the next few days. But if things are not straightened out over the next two or three days, I may try something that involves just our team. It may not work. But I've got to try something" (Jayson Stark, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 3/14). NEWS & NOTES: Seattle attorney Steve Berman, "known for filing high-profile class-action suits and wringing substantial settlements from defendants without going to trial," filed suit in U.S. District Court in Seattle on behalf of fans, season- ticket holders and affected businesses as a challenge to baseball's antitrust exemption (SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, 3/14)....Mets GM Joe McIlvane said he believes players will begin to cross if the next round of talks collapse (N.Y. POST, 3/14)....A recent NBC/ Wall Street Journal Poll found that the number of people who consider themselves baseball fans has slipped from 55% in July '94 to 41% in March '95 (NBC/WSJ Poll)....CBS Money Editor John Stehr examined the impact of replacement ball on spring training towns ("CBS This Morning," 3/14).