SBD/29/Leagues Governing Bodies

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  • BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 230: NO WAY OUT?

         After a day highlighted by the union's response to the
    owners' latest offer, there is no clear indication of how this
    critical week will play out for both sides in the baseball
    dispute.  Some views from the baseball media:
         In New York, Murray Chass writes that despite the owners'
    new offer, the looming decision of U.S. District Court Judge
    Sonia Sotomayor on the NLRB's injunction request "appears to be
    paramount," particularly because the owners seem less likely to
    vote for a lockout (N.Y. TIMES, 3/29).  For more on a possible
    lockout vote.  In L.A., Ross Newhan focused on the expected MLBPA
    counter-proposal and the players' stated hopes that "there was
    room for negotiation within the framework of management's offer"
    (L.A. TIMES, 3/29).  In Denver, Tracy Ringolsby notes several
    players and agents "were encouraged by the owners' offer and
    contacted the union to make sure it followed up on the
    negotiations" (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 3/29).  In Boston, Larry
    Whiteside reported that any optimism from Monday night "was
    obliterated by the players" (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/29). In
    Philadelphia, Jayson Stark noted "mixed signals":  while talks
    "appear to be going nowhere," several teams were ready to re-
    start spring training (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 3/29).  In San
    Francisco, Glenn Dickey writes, "Basically, the bargaining comes
    down to this.  The owners are afraid they can't lock out the
    players, and the players are afraid they can" (S.F. CHRONICLE,
    3/29).  On ESPN, Peter Gammons said, "If [the two sides] can find
    something in the 40% at $45-$46 million range, find some way to
    ensure that it's closer to 100% of the revenue when they raise
    the tax rate three years into the deal, then it's at least a
    possibility -- a 50-50 possibility -- that they can get a deal
    before they put the replacements on the field Sunday night"
    ("SportsCenter," 3/28).  But later, Gammons said the owners "are
    a lot harder line than a lot of people realize" and questioned
    whether this is a deal that can be split "down the middle"
    ("Baseball Tonight," 3/28).  CNN's Mark Morgan: "It is now
    apparent that it will take a minor miracle for an agreement to be
    reached by Opening Day" ("Sports Tonight," 3/28).
         WHAT'S NEXT?  ESPN was reporting that the players will
    respond with a counter-offer of a 30% tax on payrolls above $49M.
    But ESPN's Keith Olbermann also noted the owners "have
    reintroduced the one demand that single-handedly caused the 50-
    day strike in 1981 -- compensation for free agents"
    ("SportsCenter," 3/28).  MLBPA attorney Lauren Rich and
    management attorney Rob Manfred will hold a "technical" meeting
    today on the owners' plan.  Sources close to the talks predict a
    35% tax on payrolls above $46-47M "might produce an agreement"
    (Ross Newhan, L.A. TIMES, 3/29).
         QUOTE BOARD:  MLBPA Exec Dir Don Fehr:  "It is fair to say
    that the series of suggestions we have received represents some
    movement by the clubs.  I think it would be incorrect of me to
    suggest it was substantial" (Mult, 3/29).  A's Player Rep Terry
    Steinbach called the owners plan "definitely a serious move on
    their part and a real step in the right direction" (John Hickey,
    OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 3/28).  Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner's
    advice to Fehr:  "He should listen, embrace it, and then see
    where we go from within that structure, because it's a very
    definite come-down from where we were before" ("Sports View,"
    CNBC, 3/28).  Reds GM Jim Bowden, noting the $1M plus bonuses per
    club that will paid to replacement players if they start the
    season:  "If there's no settlement by Opening Day, there's really
    no incentive for owners to settle for about 30 days" (CINCINNATI
    ENQUIRER, 3/29).  Phillies President Bill Giles said if the
    players reject the latest offer, "then I'm full-bore for
    replacement ball" (Frank Fitzpatrick, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER,
    3/29).  Mets President Fred Wilpon:  "We never said this is a
    final offer. We said this is, and I think the other side knows
    this, this is a stretch for us.  A real stretch for us" ("CBS
    This Morning," 3/29).  Braves Player Rep Tom Glavine:  "We want
    to get a deal and we understand there's going to be some
    compromises made.  But, there's a difference between compromising
    and selling everything you've gained over the last 27 years as a
    union" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 3/28).  ESPN's Gammons:  "Saturday
    is the big negotiating day, because nobody ever does anything in
    this business without a crisis point, and the crisis point is
    about Saturday midnight, or Sunday noon" ("Baseball Tonight,
    3/28).
    

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  • BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- PART II: LOCKOUT LOSING STEAM?

         According to a "high-ranking" management official, and union
    official and an outside labor lawyer with knowledge of the
    proceedings, Robert Ballow, a key legal adviser to the owners,
    "has recommended that the owners not lock out the players if they
    offer to end their seven-and-a-half-month strike and return to
    work."  The management source:  "I understand he suggests there
    should not be a lockout because it's too dangerous" (Murray
    Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 3/29).  USA TODAY's Hal Bodley writes acting
    MLB Commissioner Bud Selig is likely to recommend against a
    lockout, and lists ten teams (Red Sox, Indians, Rockies, Dodgers,
    Mets, Yankees, Padres, Blue Jays, and possibly the Rangers) that
    are opposed (USA TODAY, 3/29).  Rangers President Tom Schieffer
    said his club is still undecided on the lockout issue:  "This is
    not a simple, fill-in-the-blanks order that a judge would issue"
    (Simon Gonzalez, FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 3/29).  Indians Owner
    Dick Jacobs told the PLAIN DEALER on Tuesday that he would
    "probably" vote for a lockout (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 3/28).  In
    Atlanta, I.J. Rosenberg reports the Braves are among several
    clubs making "contingency" plans for an extended spring training
    (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION,  3/29).  But ESPN's Gammons predicts "if
    the players get the injunction and try and come back, the owners
    are going to lock them out. ... I'm told it's very solid at 23-5.
    They can throw Cleveland and Florida around and Detroit as
    possible teams that would vote against it -- no way in any one of
    those three cases" ("SportsCenter," 3/28).
    

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