SBD/6/Leagues Governing Bodies

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  • BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 207: RAZING ARIZONA

         Talks between owners and players broke down with no
    resumption in negotiations expected until after the owners'
    meeting in Palm Beach, FL, this week.  Both MLBPA Exec Dir Don
    Fehr and Rockies owner Jerry McMorris, the owners' chief
    negotiator, left Scottsdale, AZ, on Sunday.  McMorris said,
    barring a "miracle," the season will open with replacements
    players.  Fehr:  "We're back to square one" (Mult., 3/6).
         THE NUMBERS:  The two sides left with the following tax
    proposals on the table:  The players propose a 25% luxury tax on
    payrolls above 133% of the average ($54M).  The owners propose a
    50% tax above the average ($40.6M).  Management attorney Chuck
    O'Connor indicated one of the reasons owners were disappointed
    with the union's Saturday proposal was because of an ESPN report
    that it would place the threshold at $47M.  O'Connor:  "That
    would have not been a level of settlement for us, but it might
    have promoted negotiation" (Peter Schmuck, Baltimore SUN, 3/6).
         ENTER THE HARD-LINERS?  A union source said the owners' last
    offer was a "clear sign" that the hard-liners had taken over:
    "All I can say is, there weren't many centrists in Scottsdale"
    (Jayson Stark, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 3/6).  Those on the
    players' side believe that White Sox Chair Jerry Reinsdorf and
    Tribune Co. attorney Robert Ballow "have already assumed command
    of the owners' bargaining strategy" (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES,
    3/6).  The future of McMorris and O'Connor as head and lead
    counsel of the owners' negotiating team will be discussed at Palm
    Beach, "with some owners believed to favor a change" to Reinsdorf
    and Ballow (Ross Newhan, L.A. TIMES, 3/6).  Reinsdorf continues
    to claim he has no interest in taking over (L.A. TIMES, 3/5).
    O'Connor addressed a possible switch, saying that if the owners
    went with Reinsdorf, he and Ballow "probably would be the right
    combination."  While O'Connor said his approach is to focus on
    negotiation, Ballow's strength is "keeping employers running with
    replacement workers."  Reinsdorf said he wished he had the
    influence attributed to him by the union, but that acting
    Commissioner Bud Selig is "the only one who has power" (Murray
    Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 3/5).  One management source, on Reinsdorf and
    Ballow taking the lead role:  "That's not going to happen" (Tom
    Keegan, N.Y. POST, 3/5).
         WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?  Agent Tom Reich:  "Huge pressure
    is building on both sides:  for the players, starting to miss
    more big paydays, for the owners, the replacement-player scam
    failing miserably and the huge potential legal damages to be paid
    becoming clearer."  Reich predicted an "arduous journey" to a
    negotiated settlement (John Helyar, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/6).
    In Philadelphia, Jayson Stark outlines the NLRB scenario for
    ending the strike:  The NLRB rules against the owners on Tuesday
    or Wednesday; the court upholds the ruling on Friday or the
    following Monday; the players end the strike; the owners meet to
    vote on whether to lock the players out.  The owners would need
    21 votes to impose a lockout, and Stark cites "many baseball
    people" who don't believe that they have the votes (PHILADELPHIA
    INQUIRER, 3/5).  But USA TODAY's Hal Bodley lists six owners --
    Reinsdorf, Florida's Huizenga, Seattle's Ellis, Minnesota's
    Pohlad, Houston's McLane and Kansas City's Glass -- "who want the
    players to stay out forever" (USA TODAY, 3/6).  Reinsdorf,
    claiming the union is prepared to wait for the NLRB's ruling:
    "We'll deal with it if and when it happens" (Bob Verdi, CHICAGO
    TRIBUNE, 3/6).  In New York, Bill Madden reports owners don't
    expect Fehr to "start negotiating seriously until the real
    pressure point   -- April 15 -- draws near."  That is when
    players miss their first paychecks, and is also tax day (N.Y.
    DAILY NEWS, 3/5).   ANY SIGNS OF HOPE?  ESPN's Peter Gammons:
    "The two sides are still 10,000 light years from home, but it's a
    start" ("SportsCenter," 3/4).  Peter Schmuck:  "The luxury tax
    remains the overriding issue in the negotiations, and despite the
    reservations of the union -- both sides finally are on the same
    wavelength" (Baltimore SUN, 3/5).  O'Connor:  "These breaks can
    be viewed as a cause for great alarm or a cause for reflection
    and opportunity" (L.A. TIMES, 3/6).
         OTHER NEWS & NOTES:  A nationwide poll conducted by Michigan
    pollster EPIC/MRA (1,000 people surveyed from February 20-24;
    margin of error +/- 3%) found that of the 59% who said they
    attended a baseball game last year, 43% said they won't go to
    replacement games (EPIC/MRA)....The union is considering filing
    another unfair labor practices charge with the NLRB over the
    issue of inducements to minor-leaguers to play in spring games
    (WASHINGTON POST, 3/5).
    

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, Chicago White Sox, Colorado Rockies, ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Walt Disney
  • BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- PART II: NEWS FROM SIX MARKETS

         BOSTON:  Red Sox announcer Sean McDonough has "no qualms"
    about calling replacement games: "I doubt if the Players
    Association ever honored anyone else's strike -- like the
    umpires' -- so why would anyone honor theirs?" (Jim Baker, BOSTON
    HERALD, 3/3).
         BALTIMORE:  Sports law specialists agree that Orioles Owner
    Peter Angelos should strike first in a potential legal battle
    over the use of replacement players by seeking a declaratory
    judgment that would forbid the AL from forcing him to use
    strikebreakers during the regular season (Brad Snyder, Baltimore
    SUN, 3/4).  In NEWSWEEK, Mark Starr notes that minor leaguers and
    other players hold Angelos "in high respect" for his position
    (NEWSWEEK, 3/13 issue).  But Peter Gammons calls Angelos the
    "biggest phony in the equation": "If Angelos had been willing to
    put in the time of a John Harrington or a Jerry McMorris, he
    could have protected his investment better" (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/5).
         FLORIDA:  Marlins Owner Wayne Huizenga said he would rather
    not have the players back without a labor agreement in place:
    "What's to think we will make any progress if the players come
    back to work?" (MIAMI HERALD, 3/4).
         NEW YORK:  New York sponsors "aren't buying" replacement
    ball.  WFAN VP & GM Joel Hollander:  "All hell will break loose
    at the end of the month if replacements are still playing."
    Meanwhile, local Midas Mufflers dealers will not purchase time
    for either NYC teams' replacement games.  Chemical Bank, which
    spent $1M on spots during Mets games last year is negotiating
    with the team over a new agreement.  Chemical Exec VP Charles
    McCabe: "The only formula to renegotiate our costs is based on
    lower attendance and the cost of tickets" (Richard Sandomir, N.Y.
    TIMES, 3/6)....Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner wants to know if
    "his front office was informed fairly" about the rules on
    replacements (Jeff Bradley, N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/4).
         PHILADELPHIA:  The Phillies are planning to feature the 25th
    anniversary of Veterans Stadium as part of their ad campaign --
    "strike or no strike."  The ads will highlight memorable moments
    in the stadium's history (Dave Caldwell, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER,
    3/5).
         TEXAS:  Rangers GM Doug Melvin had a warning for any free
    agents interested in signing with the team after the strike ends.
    Melvin will question players about their attitudes toward the
    strike, and anybody "bent on making trouble for players who
    appeared in exhibition games will not be welcome in Texas" (FORT
    WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 3/4).
    

    Print | Tags: Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Miami Marlins, Leagues and Governing Bodies, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, YankeeNets
  • CFL NOTES: POSSE HITCHED UP AND HEADED TO SOUTH FLORIDA?

         Bruce Frey, a Chicago real estate investor, is competing
    with Jackson, MS, to make Miami the new home of the Las Vegas
    Posse, according to the MIAMI HERALD.  Frey, who has twice tried
    to buy the Dolphins, has met with officials from the city about
    playing in the Orange Bowl.   Reports out of Las Vegas say
    current Posse owners are asking $2.5M for controlling interest
    (MIAMI HERALD, 3/4).  According to AP, CFL sources say the team
    would be called the Manatees and a portion of profits would go
    toward protecting the endangered sea mammal (Baltimore SUN, 3/4).
    ....Lawyers representing Chicago restauranteur Horn Chen met with
    Rough Riders President Phil Kershaw this weekend to go over the
    financial state of the team.  Chen would keep the team in Ottawa
    (Don Campbell, OTTAWA CITIZEN, 3/6)....CFL Commissioner Larry
    Smith blamed the NHL lockout on the disastrous finances of the
    Riders and their owner -- former Senators Owner Bruce Firestone
    (OTTAWA CITIZEN, 3/4).... Former CFL-player Mike Wadsworth, who
    takes over as Notre Dame A.D. on April 1, "feels the CFL is in
    its death throes."  Wadsworth thinks it "would be better for
    three or four Canadian cities to join the NFL and let the rest of
    the league fold" (Rick Matsumoto, TORONTO STAR, 3/3).
    

    Print | Tags: CFL, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Miami Dolphins, NFL, NHL, Ottawa Senators
  • JAPAN AND SOUTH KOREA PRESENT WORLD CUP BIDS

         Japan and South Korea were the only two countries to present
    World Cup bids to FIFA by Tuesday's confirmation deadline, and it
    "now seems certain that an Asian country will host the 2002 World
    Cup."  The Games have never been held outside of Europe and the
    Americas.  Mexico, which had been in the running since December,
    failed to present a bid.  Japan, "which began working on its bid
    in 1986, appears to be the front runner.  A decision on 2002 will
    be announced in June '96 (John Haydon, WASHINGTON TIMES, 3/5).
         OTHER SOCCER NOTES:  Tampa Bay will be home to three area
    pro soccer teams.  The city will have a MLS team, a NPSL
    franchise, and last week the city was awarded U.S. International
    Soccer League franchise.  Some question whether three teams are
    too much for the area (Bill Ward, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 3/5)....Despite
    an "aggressive marketing plan, the Atlanta Ruckus is danger of
    folding before it plays a game."  Ruckus Owner Sam Chase failed
    to post a $100,000 letter of credit with the APSL by the March 1
    deadline, "forcing the league to begin the process of revoking
    his franchise."  A local sports marketing firm, Atlanta
    Management Services, is "spearheading a drive to find new
    investors" (Doug Cress, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 3/5).
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLS, NPSL
  • MLB EXPANSION ANNOUNCEMENT THIS WEEK IN PALM BEACH?

         MLB owners will be asked to pick two expansion cities for
    1998 and to set a price for the team when they meet in Palm Beach
    this week.  Representatives from each group vying for a franchise
    -- Orlando, Tampa/St. Pete, Phoenix, and two bids from Northern
    VA -- will give a half-hour presentation on Tuesday afternoon.
    The expansion committee "will meet jointly with the executive
    council to make its recommendation."  A final decision could come
    Thursday after the owners debates the matter.  Tampa/St.
    Petersburg and Phoenix are the favorites to be awarded expansion
    teams to begin play in '98, and the committee could also
    recommend "a second wave of expansion that would start no earlier
    than the year 2000" (Bill Chastain, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 3/4).  But,
    the "call for new presentations would seem to indicate that no
    final decision has been made yet on where to expand and when"
    (Thom Loverro, WASHINGTON TIMES, 3/3).
         BOOST FOR ORLANDO?  Prospective Orlando owner Norton Herrick
    received written assurances from two Florida officials, Attorney
    General Bob Butterworth and U.S. Senator Connie Mack, that they
    aren't pulling for St. Petersburg over Orlando in the two cities'
    bids for expansion.  Herrick called the letters "significant"
    since it "debunked" the perception Tampa Bay is "owed a team and
    has the legal and lawmaking muscle of several high-powered
    politicians behind it" (Lebowitz & Tracy, ORLANDO SENTINEL, 3/4).
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLB
  • WHEN IS A CAP NOT A CAP? NFL'S SALARY STRUCTURE EXAMINED

         The legitimacy of the NFL's salary cap is examined by the
    BOSTON GLOBE's Will McDonough.  The league does have a cap, "but,
    in reality, in name only."  Bills Owner Ralph Wilson said the cap
    "is becoming a joke, and it's the owners fault.  No one else's.
    Don't blame the players.  Don't blame the agents.  Blame us.
    We're the ones ruining the system."  McDonough writes that teams
    are sitting down with agents and working out ways to beat the cap
    through loopholes.  Last year, the cap was put at $34.6M per
    team, but the NFLPA reports an average payroll of $39M per club.
    According to NFLPA "accounting, 17 teams were over the cap in
    1994."   McDonough notes two problems that could occur from teams
    subverting the cap:  Smaller-market clubs won't have the
    financial resources to compete with teams with great stadium
    deals, and possible "outrageous deals" when the current CBA
    expires in '99.  A complete list of team payrolls is listed for
    1994, according to the NFLPA.  In addition to these totals, each
    team had to pay $4.4M in player benefits (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/5):
    Redskins
    $42,885
    Chargers
    $35,951
    Vikings
    $34,046
    Cardinals
    $42,257
    Packers
    $35,853
    Rams
    $33,774
    Seahawks
    $40,815
    49ers
    $35,386
    Dolphins
    $32,877
    Patriots
    $38,856
    Jets
    $35,303
    Broncos
    $31,397
    Lions
    $38,543
    Falcons
    $35,219
    Cowboys
    $31,389
    Colts
    $38,406
    Browns
    $35,056
    Bengals
    $31,194
    Chiefs
    $38,180
    Eagles
    $34,788
    Steelers
    $31,105
    Saints
    $37,363
    Giants
    $34,416
    Bucs
    $31,104
    Oilers
    $37,103
    Bears
    $34,363
    Raiders
    $37,004
    Bills
    $34,29

    THE MAN FROM TROY: Cowboys QB Troy Aikman, growing upset about the loss of some teammates to free agency, said the salary cap is the reason why the team isn't staying together. Aikman said Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones "is doing everything he can to keep this going. ... Jerry would have kept the players that gave us the best shot at winning, if it wasn't for the cap." Aikman also "took a poke" at the NFLPA, "saying most players are probably making the same salaries they would be making under a non-cap system" (Mike Fisher, FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 3/6). RUN THAT AGAIN: NFL owners will consider two versions of the instant replay system at their winter meetings in March. One idea is to use the same system that was rejected in '92, but only in the playoffs. The other proposal is an adaptation of the USFL rules, with each team having three "challenges for each half" (Gordon Forbes, USA TODAY, 3/6).

    Print | Tags: Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Edmonton Oilers, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, NFL, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Vulcan Ventures, Washington Redskins, Wilson Sporting Goods
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