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BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 208: TALK AMONGST YOURSELVES
Published March 7, 1995
With the latest talks having failed, the owners head to Palm Beach, FL, "for a showdown between moderates and hard-liners, and the players awaited hoped-for legal assistance," according to Tracy Ringolsby in today's ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS. No new talks are scheduled, but Rockies Owner Jerry McMorris said that he "wouldn't be surprised if something pops up by the weekend" (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 3/7). Braves President Stan Kasten said to expect an "overwhelming expression of unity" in FL, which I.J. Rosenberg writes "could be bad news for the players." The hard- liners, led by White Sox Chair Jerry Reinsdorf, are expected to push for continuation of the replacement policy in order to convince players to cross (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 3/7). Acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said he would make no changes in the makeup of the owners' negotiating committee (USA TODAY/Mult., 3/7). USERY'S IN THE MIX AGAIN: In Washington, Mark Maske reports that Special Mediator William Usery accepted an invitation from the owners to attend part of their meeting, and that Usery "may implore the owners on Thursday to submit their 'best offer'" to the players in a "last-ditch attempt" to save Opening Day. The union "objects" to Usery's plan. "One person on the players' side said yesterday that would be an 'unmitigated disaster' because it would produce 'no further bargaining by the owners.'" The union may try to dissuade Usery before Thursday (WASHINGTON POST, 3/7). MLBPA WAITS ON NLRB: Union officials claim it was the "sunset provision" which would eliminate a luxury tax after three years, and not the tax levels themselves, that was their "major point of contention" with the owners' proposal in Scottsdale. Meanwhile, MLBPA Exec Dir Don Fehr reiterated his position that the union would end the strike if the NLRB issues a complaint against the owners this week. But Tracy Ringolsby notes, "Even if the NLRB issues a complaint it would be late May or June before an injunction could be in place. The NLRB would have to seek the action from an administrative law judge, and the owners would have several avenues of appeal if the injunction is granted." The owners could then lock out the players. Because the replacement players are "temporary," they could play during a lockout (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 3/7). Asked if the owners might lock out the players, Red Sox CEO John Harrington told the ASSOCIATED PRESS: "Sure. You'd have to consider all these things. We're not going to go into the season unless there's a no-strike provision" (TORONTO STAR, 3/7). WHAT TO DO WITH THE O'S? The owners are also expected to discuss the Orioles, who have refused to field a replacement team. Orioles Owner Peter Angelos said there have been no discussions of a compromise (Buster Olney, Baltimore SUN, 3/7). Sources say the owners will take a formal vote on the use of replacements in the regular season, and that no decision will be made on the Orioles until after that vote (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 3/7). QUOTES OF NOTE: Jerry Reinsdorf was a guest on ESPN's "Up Close." Asked whether the owners are out to break the union: "Certainly not. If we didn't have a union, we'd want one. We need a union. There are certain things that have to be negotiated on a joint basis. We just want the players to understand that this particular union is not serving their interest very well" (ESPN, 3/6). ABC's Jeff Greenfield reported on the strike with an in-depth examination of the luxury tax. ABC's Al Michaels: "I think the general feeling amongst the ownership right now, even though it won't be stated publicly, is that they have the players on the run and they're going for the ultimate victory, for the grand slam home run" (ABC, 3/6).