SBD/28/Leagues Governing Bodies

BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 229: DAY-NIGHT DOUBLEHEADER

     Joe Foss, the Orioles Vice Chair for Business and Finance,
summed it up:  "This could be the most important week in the
history of baseball" (USA TODAY, 3/28).  With Opening Day looming
on April 2, the week opened with events moving at a quickened
pace.  While U.S. District Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor was
selected to consider the NLRB's request for an injunction against
the owners early in the day, the owners spent the evening placing
a new offer on the table.     TAKE-IT-OR-LEAVE-IT?  Acting MLB
Commissioner Bud Selig presented the owners' latest offer:
     -- 1995 would be played under the terms of the old CBA. --
The players would have the choice of keeping the old system, or
exchange it for unrestricted free agency for players with four or
more years, in which case arbitration would be phased out after
1996.
-- The Ft. Lauderdale Revenue Sharing Plan would go into effect,
with a "stricter minimum club payroll that would insure that
revenue sharing dollars transferred to small market clubs are
spent on players.
-- A luxury tax of 50% on payrolls above $44M.
-- The agreement would run through the year 2000 (MLB).
     REAX FROM KEY PLAYERS:  While Selig declined to refer to the
owners' plan as a final offer, Rockies Owner Jerry McMorris said,
"This is it."  Union leaders offered no public statements, but
officials "privately said the owners' offer is not likely to lead
to an agreement" (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 3/28).  MLBPA Exec
Dir Don Fehr, last night:  "I'll get back to Bud tomorrow."  Red
Sox CEO John Harrington:  "Once we start with replacement
players, this offer is off the table" (Jerome Holtzman, CHICAGO
TRIBUNE, 3/28).  Harrington:  "We don't have a vote amongst the
clubs on this so it's going to be very difficult for us to
convince them to accept this.  But I think it's a fair proposal
for both sides" ("Baseball Tonight," ESPN, 3/28).
     WHAT WILL IT TAKE?  ESPN's Dave Campbell cited a "source
deep within the union" about what it would take for a deal.
"Some of the parameters" would include: a 5-year deal; the first
three years with a 40% tax at $45M, "so they're only off 10
percent and $1 million"; no arbitration and three-year free
agency after '95; and a review of the tax after three years, "by
either a panel, or the right to reopen negotiations again"
("Baseball Tonight," 3/28).  According to sources on both sides,
the union's desire for a three-year reopening on the tax "still
could be a major hang-up" (Jayson Stark, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER,
3/28).  In L.A., Ross Newhan notes that 12 clubs would be taxed
under the new plan, compared to 15 under the owners' previous
proposal.  But union officials "said it still represents a
significant deterrent to free agent spending."  One MLBPA
official:  "It takes money from the high-revenue clubs, which
drive the market."  Sources say a tax of 35% or 40% on payrolls
above $47M "would produce a union compromise, but it's not
certain the owners will go for it" (L.A. TIMES, 3/28).  CNN's
Mark Morgan: "If you read between the lines in the way Selig was
talking, you really see there is very little room to negotiate."
Morgan added: "You can bet that if you think about it, especially
with the 50% tax rate, that it's not a proposal that the union
can accept right now" ("Sports Tonight," 3/27).  ESPN's Chris
Berman: "The owners made, what appears to be a big deal"
("Baseball Tonight," 3/28).  The players have until the weekend
to deliver a response.  "A no vote means the 1995 season will
open with replacement players" (Larry Whiteside, BOSTON GLOBE,
3/28).  In Baltimore, Peter Schmuck writes, "The trouble is, the
package still would cause free-agent salaries to crash, something
the union will never willingly allow to happen" (Baltimore SUN,
3/28).
     KENNESAW MOUNTAIN SOTOMAYOR?  Judge Sotomayor, who said that
all she knows about the dispute is what she reads in the New York
Times, told owners to submit their brief by 5pm EST Wednesday and
the union and NLRB to respond by 5pm EST Thursday.  Sotomayor
will hold a hearing Friday, with a decision possible before
Sunday.  The MLBPA Executive Board meets tomorrow in New York and
is expected to approve a resolution calling for an end to the
strike should Sotomayor grant an injunction (Mark Maske,
WASHINGTON POST, 3/28).  In a hearing yesterday, management
attorneys "clearly indicated no interest in having a ruling by
Sotomayor before the start of the season, or anytime for that
matter" (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 3/28).  ESPN's Grace Lee
Nikkel said Sotomayor "has put the decision on a fast track
paving the way" for a decision by Opening Day ("SportsCenter,"
3/27).
     CHANCES OF A LOCKOUT:  If the players end the strike, the
owners would be faced with a lockout decision.  Yankees Owner
George Steinbrenner:  "If I were a betting man, I don't know, I
might bet that we would not lockout. But as I say, that's just me
sitting here right now" ("CBS Evening News," 3/27).  Jayson Stark
reports the "buzz throughout baseball yesterday" was that the
hard-line owners couldn't get the 21 votes necessary.  Stark adds
that "there are reasons to believe that even some of the owners
would prefer a decision that resolves this mess one way or the
other, before opening day."  He notes even one day of replacement
ball will cost at least $800,000 per team and the "growing"
impression among a number of owners that the current losses will
lead to lower salaries (PHILA. INQUIRER, 3/28).
     WAIT, AND WATCH:  In Atlanta, I.J. Rosenberg writes, "It is
doubtful the union will make any type of deal until a judge rules
on its injunction request" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 3/28).  In New
York, Bill Madden writes, "It is hard to imagine ... either side
taking its best shot until Sotomayor rules" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS,
3/28).
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