SBD/3/Leagues Governing Bodies

BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 204: BACK TO SQUARE ZERO?

     "Anger at the baseball peace talks.  Owners say union boss
Don Fehr demanded to go back and look anew at the owners revenue
sharing decision of January 1994, instead of the current economic
issues.  Rockies Owner Jerry McMorris said he thinks it's time he
and other moderates turn it over to the hardline owners,"
according to ESPN's Keith Olbermann in last night's
"SportsCenter."  Said McMorris:  "I think I was used by Don Fehr
and his staff'" (ESPN, 3/2).
     BUD'S OUT:  In addition, acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig
emerged from a one-on-one meeting with MLBPA Exec Dir Don Fehr to
announce that he was leaving Scottsdale.  One person familiar
with the talks said that Selig told Fehr "he was frustrated and
didn't like what was happening" (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 3/3).
Selig convinced McMorris to stay and head a reconfigured
management team:  McMorris, Cubs President Andy MacPhail,
Phillies President Dave Montgomery, Brewers VP Wendy Selig-Prieb
(Selig's daughter) and lawyers Chuck O'Connor and Rob Manfred.
Selig:  "I didn't give him any choice" (Tracy Ringolsby, ROCKY
MOUNTAIN NEWS, 3/3).
     BAD COP/BAD COP:  McMorris, asked if by hard-liners, he
meant White Sox Chair Jerry Reinsdorf:  "That would be the likely
alternative. ... If we are going to war, going to spend
considerable time in the courthouse and every day is going to be
a confrontation, we have owners who have a longer history dealing
in that than I do" (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 3/3).  Several reports
note that Nashville attorney Robert Ballow also would step
forward if negotiating duties are handed over.  Ballow, who
counsels the Tribune Co., has a "union-busting reputation" (Ross
Newhan, L.A. TIMES, 3/3). In Baltimore, Peter Schmuck writes,
"The message was clear   -- and perhaps even orchestrated.  The
union's window of opportunity is closing, and the time to cut a
deal may never be better" (Baltimore SUN, 3/3).  In Washington,
Mark Maske writes with Reinsdorf and Ballow, "the chances of the
strike extending into the summer would increase dramatically"
(WASHINGTON POST, 3/3).  In Philadelphia, Jayson Stark writes
Selig's exit "was a sign that the hard-liners on the owners' side
were showing their muscle again" (PHILA.  INQUIRER, 3/3).  Hal
Bodley writes, "Selig's action was seen as a ploy to jar the
union" (USA TODAY, 3/3).
     WHAT DID THEY SAY?  McMorris cited "the union's refusal to
delineate where it stood on a tax level and continued opposition
to the owners' revenue-sharing plan" as reasons for his
displeasure (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 3/3).  But Murray Chass cites a
union source who claims they were "prepared to accept" the
owners' revenue-sharing plan and that there had been
"misunderstandings" due to reports given by Mediator William
Usery (N.Y. TIMES, 3/3).  Fehr "hinted" a proposal would be
forthcoming today based on Wednesday's late-night meeting of
McMorris and Manfred and union officials Lauren Rich and Michael
Weiner (Mark Maske, WAHSINGTON POST, 3/3).  USA TODAY reports
that at that Wednesday meeting, MLBPA attorney Lauren Rich
suggested a luxury tax of 25% over $59M, or 145% of the average
payroll.  McMorris claimed no teams' payroll approached $59M (Hal
Bodley, USA TODAY, 3/3).      LAST NIGHT'S TV:  On ABC's "World
News Tonight," Mark Potter reported on replacement games from the
Dodgers/ Yankees in Ft. Lauderdale:  "So far, fans aren't
flocking to see them" (ABC, 3/2).  CBS "Eye on America" covered
the start of spring training.  CBS's Dan Rather's lead-in:  "The
regular players have been eplaced by a collection of has-beens,
never-weres, and wanna-be's.  What the union calls scabs" (CBS,
3/2).  Reds GM Jim Bowden said some of his minor-leaguers
reported "physical threats" if they played this spring.  Asked if
they came from major leaguers, Bowden said, "It is all hearsay
until more facts are brought forward, but yes that is what we
were told" (CNN, 3/2).
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