SBD/2/Leagues Governing Bodies

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  • BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 203: WHAT BLOOMS IN THE DESERT?

         "The optimism that surfaced at the beginning of the renewed
    effort to resolve the baseball strike was put on hold Wednesday,"
    writes Tracy Ringolsby in this morning's ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS.
    Rockies Owner Jerry McMorris, who expressed optimism Tuesday that
    a deal could be done this week, "sounded frustrated a deal wasn't
    closer than it had been 24 hours earlier, but didn't seem
    discouraged."  Both sides will continue talks today, focusing on
    the "stalemate" over the proposed luxury tax.  "So far, the
    players have been unwilling to discuss a tax plan other than a
    flat tax that would be used as an alteration of the owners'
    revenue-sharing plan" (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 3/2).  Until the tax
    is discussed, "any optimism about a settlement being imminent
    probably is unfounded" (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 3/2).
         SOMETHING'S GONNA HAPPEN:  In Philadelphia, Jayson Stark
    outlines the factors that make this round of talks "different
    from previous sessions":  1)  THE SELIG EFFECT -- Selig "seems to
    have distanced himself from the hard-liners [namely, White Sox
    Chair Jerry Reinsdorf]. ... And that could have a huge impact on
    the ability of the owners' bargaining team to sell a compromise."
    2)  NICE GUYS MAKE DEALS -- The change in mood "has everything to
    do with an abrupt change in the union's negotiating philosophy.
    ... The union hierarchy has decided -- perhaps at the suggestion
    of some of the more influential agents and players -- to stop
    dwelling on the bad blood between the parties and start
    concentrating on building a better relationship for the future."
    3)  THE NO-PROPOSAL PROPOSALS -- Deals get done "in informal
    settings and in small groups."  4)  THE NLRB BLUES -- One agent
    said a favorable ruling from the NLRB will only lead to a
    protracted court battle, for which there is little time.  5)  THE
    REPLACE-MESS -- "Both sides already seem to recognize that these
    games are a farce" (PHILA. INQUIRER, 3/2).  In L.A., Ross Newhan
    notes the Reinsdorf factor, citing sources who say he wants a
    "fight to the death."  One source:  "Jerry wants a winner and a
    loser.  Selig, Fehr and others recognize the need for an
    honorable deal" (L.A. TIMES, 3/2).  In Washington, Tom Boswell
    writes "sensible reasons exist for anticipating The End":  The
    union's recent P.R. gaffes and potential May 1 defections; the
    negative reaction to replacements; and, the owners' 3/4 voting
    rule, which could prevent a lockout if the players return after a
    favorable NLRB ruling (WASHINGTON POST, 3/2).
         NOT SO OPTIMISTIC:  In Chicago, Jerome Holtzman predicts
    there won't be a deal "until early or mid-May -- after the
    regular players miss two or three paydays" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE,
    3/2).  In New York, Jay Greenberg writes, "The conscienceless
    owners who blew off a World Series didn't test the players'
    resolve all the way to early March to suddenly forge a new spirit
    of cooperation.  And the players, having missed only three checks
    to this point, are not yet desperate enough to tell the
    ideological zealots who run their union to get off their high
    horse and better represent their entire constituency" (N.Y. POST,
    3/2).
         REPLACEMENT SHAM:  In Cincinnati, Tim Sullivan writes that
    in signing 48-year-old, 238-pound Pedro Borbon, the Reds "have
    simultaneously conceded replacement ball to be a circus and
    revealed the depths of ownership's desperation."  Pirates Manager
    Jim Leyland, on Borbon:  "I worry about what's happening to
    baseball" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 3/2).
         TIMETABLE:  Blue Jay Paul Molitor said "the next two or
    three days, maybe through the weekend, before the owners leave
    for their meetings, is going to be the most opportune time [to
    cut a deal]" ("Sports Tonight," CNN, 3/1).  ESPN's Bob Sirkin
    noted that the owners say they will hold their March 7-9 meetings
    in Palm Beach on schedule -- "regardless of what happens here"
    ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 3/1).
         OTHER NEWS:  On PBS' "Nightly Business Report," Jeff Yastine
    looked at the economic effect the strike is having on FL and AZ,
    especially host communities that are concerned about "being able
    to meet the bond obligations that financed new stadium
    construction for many municipalities."  Yastine reports the
    strike isn't having much of an impact on hotel and motel
    bookings, which are "at or above normal," and most communities
    have not seen a decrease in tourism taxes, which usually go
    toward stadium bonds (PBS, 3/1).
    

    Print | Tags: Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Colorado Rockies, ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Blues, Time Warner, Walt Disney
  • BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- PART II: NEWS FROM 10 MARKETS

         BALTIMORE:  The MD Senate passed two bills, one that would
    ban games at Camden Yards this season unless 75% of the players
    were on MLB rosters last season, and another to prohibit
    advertising at games that use replacement players.  The bills
    were sponsored by Sen. John Pica, an attorney in Orioles Owner
    Peter Angelos' law firm.  Also:  The Baltimore City Council
    discussed a bill that would fine replacement teams $1,000 per
    game for playing at Camden Yards (Baltimore SUN, 3/2)....The AL
    and NL jointly announced they would cancel the O's first 12
    spring games because of the team's refusal to play with
    replacements (WASHINGTON POST, 3/2).
         CALIFORNIA:  CNN's Mark Morgan reported that "about 1,500
    fans were on hand" at the Angels/Arizona State game in Tempe
    ("Sports Tonight," CNN, 3/1).  ESPN reported that 2,100 tickets
    had been sold ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 3/1).
         CINCINNATI:  CNN's Fred Hickman reported 16 players left
    Reds camp, including former MLBers Scott Scudder and Kurt
    Stillwell.  Hickman said Owner Marge Schott rooted on those who
    stayed, saying, "You are not wimps out there, you guys are men"
    ("Sports Tonight," 3/1).
         HOUSTON:  Astros Owner Drayton McLane says that "while he
    felt sympathy for minor league players" and their tough
    situation, he held open the possibility of suspending those that
    refuse to play (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 2/28).
         LOS ANGELES:  The Dodgers-Yankees exhibition opener tonight
    in Ft. Lauderdale would be a great picket opportunity, says Bob
    Nightengale in today's L.A. TIMES.  "It features the nation's two
    biggest markets and baseball's two most prestigious
    organizations" (L.A. TIMES. 3/2).
         MONTREAL:  Yesterday, the Canadian Government changed
    existing labor regulations to allow the Expos to use replacement
    players at home.  Paul Cavalluzzo, a lawyer who represents the
    MLBPA in Canada: "I call it the Brochu Amendment.  It's
    unbelievable.  It's the most specifically tailored law I've ever
    seen" (TORONTO SUN, 2/3).
         OAKLAND:  The A's announced their Ticket Fest '95 promotion
    yesterday, predicting that with the team's April prices reduced
    62%-78%, "the A's ticket office expects fans in full force."
    Ticket Fest coincides with the first day of single-game ticket
    sales on March 11 at 8am.  Activities include clubhouse tours,
    complementary food and beverages, on-field activities, a "ball
    scramble" for prizes and a $100,000 little league "Run the Bases"
    contest (Athletics).
         ST. LOUIS: Cardinals Manager Joe Torre is profiled in this
    week's SI as a "voice of reason."  Torre, "a key figure in the
    growth of the players' union in the late 1960s," says there has
    been a "change in the rank and file":  "We were players, we were
    athletes.  Players today are celebrities.  My problem with the
    players is they don't understand the history of all this.  They
    think the players' association began when they got to the big
    leagues.  They think, 'I have it coming to me'" (Tim Kurkjian,
    SI, 3/6 issue).
         TEXAS:  Four more players left rangers camp raising the
    number to 20, an MLB high.  Rangers GM Doug Melvin, on those who
    left:  "It will be a long season for them, or unemployment" (FT.
    WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 3/2).
         TORONTO:  The Blue Jays minor leaguers will not face
    replacement players.  Team spokesperson Howie Starkman:  "We
    won't even need minor-leaguers now that those split-squad games
    have been cancelled" (TORONTO SUN, 3/2).
    

    Print | Tags: LA Angels, Anaheim Sports, Baltimore Orioles, Cincinnati Reds, ESPN, Houston Astros, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Los Angeles Dodgers, MLB, New York Yankees, News Corp./Fox, Oakland Athletics, Sports Illustrated, Time Warner, Toronto Blue Jays, Walt Disney, YankeeNets
  • GANG LINK MAY CAUSE NFL TO "PULL RUG" ON BANDANAS

         The NFL may ban the wearing of bandanas under the helmets of
    its players linking the headwear to urban gangs. NFL Dir of
    Football Development Gene Washington says "several high school
    coaches, including black coaches in urban areas," have questioned
    if the bandana is part of the NFL uniform.  Washington: "The
    whole idea is to maintain a uniform code.  I'm not leading the
    charge.  High school coaches have told us it's not good for the
    (NFL) image, particularly with young people living in urban areas
    who think of it as a symbol."  The league may vote on the issue
    during its May meetings (Gordon Forbes, USA TODAY, 3/2).
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, NFL
  • LACK OF A LABOR DEAL CAUSING CONCERN NORTH-OF-THE-BORDER

         The lack of a CBA between the NBA and NBPA is keeping the
    expansion Raptors and Grizzlies from making their franchise
    payments and may put a hold on the expansion draft, NBA rookie
    draft and even construction of the Raptors' new arena, according
    to this morning's TORONTO SUN.  The expansion agreement with the
    two teams is based on the existence of a collective bargaining
    agreement.  NBA Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik:  "If it gets to
    where we absolutely have to have an answer, we're going to have
    some tough discussions all the way around."  The TORONTO SUN's
    Craig Daniels notes there has little progress toward a CBA since
    the All-Star Game, and "there are increasing rumblings that a
    lockout looms next season."  Construction on the Raptors' Air
    Canada Centre will not begin until "a business deal is in place
    with the league."  If the lack of a CBA delays an expansion
    agreement past October 1, the team will be required to pay a C$1M
    penalty to the province according to the conditions of the
    agreement reached between the league and Ontario over the Pro-
    Line Lottery.  The team "would likely claim" that the NBA would
    be responsible for the fine because it failed to get a new CBA.
    Granik: "I don't want to get into that" (TORONTO SUN, 3/2).
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, NBA, Toronto Raptors
  • MLB OFFICIALS MAKING THE ROUNDS -- TOUR ORLANDO/NORTHERN VA

         Officials from MLB toured Orlando Tuesday night and
    Wednesday, reportedly in search of "technical information such as
    traffic patterns" surrounding the proposed site of a baseball
    stadium.  The group met with Norton Herrick, the FL developer who
    is heading Orlando's expansion bid, and his partner Paul Jacobs,
    a Denver attorney, in a Florida Citrus Bowl skybox where they
    "largely repeated the presentation" they made back in December.
    Included was a $25,000 model of the proposed baseball stadium.
    Although no definitive answers came from the visit, MLB Dir of
    Baseball Ops Bill Murray did say that Orlando is a "viable
    candidate" (Tracy & Lebowitz, ORLANDO SENTINEL, 3/2).  Prior to
    MLB's visit, the ORLANDO SENTINEL ran an editorial citing the top
    ten reasons why Orlando should get a team (ORLANDO SENTINEL,
    3/1).
         NEXT STOP ... NORTHERN VA:  Upon leaving Orlando, the
    officials traveled to Northern VA where they met with William
    Collins, head of the Virginia Baseball Club Inc.  The group
    visited the four proposed stadium sites, including one site east
    of Dulles Int'l Airport considered to be the "favorite" by local
    officials and stadium planners  (Eric Lipton, WASHINGTON POST,
    3/2).
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLB
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