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BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- PART II: HOW THE PLAYERS SEE IT
Published March 24, 1995
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).