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  • BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 225: NLRB DELAYS DECISION

         The NLRB -- "apparently with some prodding" from Special
    Mediator William Usery -- delayed a decision on whether to seek
    an injunction restoring baseball's old economic system until next
    week.  MLBPA Exec Dir Don Fehr has said the players would end the
    strike with such an injunction.  MLBPA General Counsel Gene Orza,
    on reports Usery intervened to get the delay:  "I hope not" (Mark
    Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 3/24).  NLRB Chair William Gould:  "The
    collective bargaining process is the best way to resolve this
    dispute. ... We have simply not resolved this case and not
    decided it at this particular juncture" ("Sports View," CNBC,
    3/23).  Fehr: "They ought to be acting.  I think a delay hurts
    the process here.  Having said that, they'll do whatever they'll
    do.  They don't ask my permission for things" ("Sports Tonight,"
    CNN, 3/23).  The union was "privately enraged" that Usery called
    Gould (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 3/24).  Usery "apparently was
    convinced that a pending injunction would make it more difficult
    to get both sides back to the table, but the delay could leave
    the owners with even less motivation to negotiate" (Peter
    Schmuck, Baltimore SUN, 3/24).
         OWNERS TEAM MEETS, PLOTS:  The owners' negotiation team --
    with the exception of Rockies Owner Jerry McMorris -- met outside
    Chicago yesterday to "plot their next move" (Jerome Holtzman,
    CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 3/24).  At 6:30pm EST, ESPN's Bob Ley reported
    that the owners may be preparing "a possible new proposal"
    ("SportsCenter," 3/23).  But later on "Baseball Tonight," ESPN's
    Grace Lee Nikkel reported, "If you're looking for concrete
    evidence that management is about to submit another proposal to
    the union, you're not going to find it here" ("Baseball Tonight,"
    3/23).
         BACK TO THE TABLE?  Usery "is trying to arrange for a
    weekend, small-group negotiating session, which will include
    McMorris and possibly just one other management representative"
    (Tracy Ringolsby, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 3/24).  One management
    member "indicated Usery might have a difficult time persuading
    the owners' committee to meet" (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 3/24).
    Dick Conn, a spokesperson for Usery, said he has asked the owners
    to return with a new offer.  Conn:  "We don't know what they're
    going to do" (Peter Schmuck, Baltimore SUN, 3/24).  But sources
    tell the CHICAGO TRIBUNE that the owners "will offer 'new'
    proposals similar to those on the table.  If the union balks, the
    owners, as they did last December, would declare another impasse"
    (Jerome Holtzman, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 3/24). ESPN's Peter Gammons
    said the owners are trying to keep the media away from
    deliberations and that talks may begin again "around Sunday"
    ("Baseball Tonight," 3/23).
         EVER HOPEFUL:  ESPN's Gammons:  "There's been some talk that
    even if it goes to April 1 and they get a settlement, they could
    postpone the season two or three weeks, get started, and get this
    thing running" ("Baseball Tonight," 3/23).  In Toronto, Bob
    Elliott also notes one scenario by which the owners would delay
    the start of the season until a deal is made.  One GM:  "Not only
    are replacement games far from being a success, but we have far
    too many loose ends.  If we proceed the way things are right now,
    we could set a record for lawsuits" (TORONTO SUN, 3/24).
    

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  • BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- PART II: HOW THE PLAYERS SEE IT

         MLBPA Exec Dir Don Fehr was interviewed on "Baseball
    Tonight."  On the players' position:  "We're not in a bad
    position to bargain now, the owners don't have the deal they want
    either."  On rumors of players crossing:  "I've never been
    concerned that players would cross in significant numbers, I'm
    not concerned now.  If they owners believe that they will, then
    there won't be a deal, and only the passage of time can prove
    them otherwise.  In any other situation, if you would have
    demonstrated the kind of solidarity that the players have
    demonstrated over this period of time, people would look around
    and wonder.  But seemingly, if we don't have 110 percent, we're
    in trouble.  That just isn't so."  Asked to clarify "significant
    numbers":  "You've got 1,100 people out there, you can't account
    for everyone's behavior every minute of every day" (ESPN, 3/23).
         FIRST TO CROSS?  Yankees pitcher Steve Howe told the N.Y.
    DAILY NEWS that he is thinking about crossing the line for
    "personal and philosophical reasons."  Howe:  "Any guy who has
    told you that he has not thought about going back to work --
    'crossing' is a bad word -- is lying.  Bottom line" (Jeff
    Bradley, N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/24).
         BARNSTORMING TOUR SPUTTERS AGAIN:  ESPN's Karl Ravech
    reported that the city of Homestead, FL has rejected plans for
    the players to train for their planned "barnstorming" tour at the
    city-owned facility ("Baseball Tonight," 3/23).  Some on the
    players side accuse the owners of pressuring Homestead and other
    AZ communities against hosting the players saying that doing so
    would harm the cities' chances of becoming spring training sites.
    The N.Y. TIMES reports that Capital Sports of Stamford, CT, a
    company that represents Reebok -- which planned at one time to
    sponsor of the tour -- had reached agreement with Homestead on
    behalf of the players.  But Homestead City Manager Will Rudd
    wrote to Capital Sports this week that they would be "unable to
    complete negotiations" (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 3/24).
         END THE STRIKE:  USA TODAY's Hal Bodley examines the
    rationale under which the players might return without an
    agreement (which he admits is a "long shot"):  1) They could play
    and get paid while legal action continues;  2) To prevent large
    numbers of players from breaking ranks;  3) To head off greater
    financial losses.  According to Bodley, the owners are "unlikely"
    to vote for a lockout.  Fehr on ending the strike:  "Is it within
    the realm of all possible things?  Yes."  Fehr also said the
    union would consider a no-strike pledge for the '95 season (USA
    TODAY, 3/24).
    

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  • UBL OFFICIALS VISIT IN VANCOUVER AS LEAGUE TAKES NEXT STEPS

         United Baseball League officials were in Vancouver on
    Thursday to meet with potential franchise owners.  B.C. Pavilion
    Corp. President Warren Buckley, who represents B.C. Place in
    talks with the UBL, said they spoke with "more than one but less
    than five potential investors," and called the meetings "more
    positive than I expected."  UBL Founder Dick Moss said they
    intend to have local ownership in Vancouver, but that there are
    U.S. investors willing to operate the team (Terry Bell, Vancouver
    PROVINCE, 3/24).  The UBL's six charter franchises:  Washington,
    New Orleans, San Juan, Vancouver, New York, and Southern CA.
    With the appointment of Mike Stone as UBL COO and the "firming
    up" of a deal with the Superdome, "the league seems to be getting
    its operational house in order," according to Lyndon Little of
    the VANCOUVER SUN.  UBL Co-founder Bob Mrazek said that Orlando,
    Sacramento, Portland and Hartford are areas the league is looking
    at for its other two franchises.  Mrazek said he is "convinced
    that the UBL will open with teams that will be better than the
    Marlins and Rockies were in their first year" (VANCOUVER SUN,
    3/24).
    

    Print | Tags: Colorado Rockies, Miami Marlins, Leagues and Governing Bodies
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