SBD/7/Leagues Governing Bodies

BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 208: TALK AMONGST YOURSELVES

     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).
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