SBD/8/Leagues Governing Bodies

BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 209: CROQUET, ANYONE?

     "While expansion will be a big issue this week, it will
still rank behind strike talk on the ownership hit parade,"
writes Jayson Stark from the owners' meeting at The Breakers in
Palm Beach, FL.  The negotiating committee will report to the
full ownership on the talks, with a possible lockout strategy on
the agenda with the NLRB due to make its ruling "any day now"
(PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 3/8).  Rockies Owner Jerry McMorris said
he believes talks will resume at the beginning of next week, and
there were "some indications that a bargaining session could take
place on Monday in Chicago."  MLBPA Exec Dir Don Fehr said he had
heard nothing from owners (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 3/8).
McMorris:  "I want to be part of getting this over with and I
want a deal that's meaningful" ("Sports Tonight," CNN, 3/7).
     REPLACEMENT NEGOTIATORS?  ESPN's Peter Gammons reported that
big market teams, such as the Mets, Blue Jays and Yankees, are
going to "get together to try to map their strategy to get this
thing finished" ("SportsCenter," 3/7).  Unless the union can
change his mind, Special Mediator William Usery is expected to
ask the owners to put their "best offer" on the table.  That
raises the issue of "how hard-line that final proposal should
be."  Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner and Mets Owner Fred
Wilpon, both recent additions to the Executive Council, are
willing to "preach" a pro-settlement stance (Tom Keegan, N.Y.
POST, 3/8).  Don Mattingly expressed disbelief that Steinbrenner
and other big-market owners would let Bud Selig "run the show"
(Jeff Bradley, N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/8).  The Phils' Dave Hollins
called on his boss, Bill Giles, to get involved:  "He's a guy who
could get the hard-liners thinking about the fans" (Paul Hagen,
PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 3/7).
     NOWHERE TO GO BUT DOWN?  SI's Tim Kurkjian quotes Fehr from
last Saturday:  "Remember what Resindorf said -- May of '96, May
of '96."  Kurkjian reports that Fehr's "animosity" toward the
owners, and White Sox Chair Jerry Reinsdorf's "similar feelings"
toward Fehr "are key points in the stalled talks."  One owner
says Reinsdorf "doesn't want to break the union, he wants the
demise of Fehr" ("Scorecard," SI, 3/13 issue).  In L.A., Ross
Newhan cites one member of the owners' negotiating team who said
that Fehr "actually interrupted one promising session to conduct
a news briefing because he said he had a commitment to an Eastern
writer on deadline."  On the other side, Newhan doubts the
union's claim Reinsdorf is pulling the strings.  Noting that
McMorris wouldn't go to dinner with fellow owners if Reinsdorf
was present, Newhan writes "it is difficult to believe" he would
act as Reinsdorf's "front man" (L.A. TIMES, 3/8).  In Washington,
Tom Boswell reports, "Many players are mad enough to pull
everything off the table; let the owners have the pleasure of
watching their replacement teams for a couple of months"
(WASHINGTON POST, 3/8).
     WOLF IN BIRD'S CLOTHING:  Orioles Owner Peter Angelos
arrives in Palm Beach today.  Sources said the Executive Council
meeting last night "became, in part, an Angelos-bashing session."
AL President Gene Budig meets with acting MLB Commissioner Bud
Selig today on the Orioles, "and it appears the league may be
shying away from a legal battle with Angelos and simply may
permit the Orioles to forfeit replacement games" (Mark Maske,
WASHINGTON POST, 3/8).
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