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BASEBALL BACK IN BUSINESS: NEVER TOO EARLY TO TALK
Published April 10, 1995
Members of MLB's Executive Council are "tentatively" scheduled to meet tomorrow, with the owners facing a decision on when to resume negotiations with players. In addition to the time-frame, owners will also discuss who will lead negotiations and who will serve as chief legal counsel. Robert Ballow of King & Ballow "could take on a prominent role in the talks," and ownership sources say the decision to remove Chuck O'Connor as general counsel of the Players Relations Committee "already has been made" (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 4/9). MLBPA Exec Dir Don Fehr said the union is ready to resume talks "any time, any day" (Mike Zizzo, ORLANDO SENTINEL, 4/10). Fehr said a strike this season would be "highly unlikely": "Anything is possible, but I wouldn't bet on it" ("Baseball Tonight," ESPN, 4/9). TOLD YA SO: Acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, on the small- to big-market trading frenzy: "This is exactly why we need a change in the system, and I guess that is what's so frustrating. The media may not want to believe it and the union may not want to believe it, but it shouldn't be a surprise to anybody. We have some clubs that aren't going to make it" (Ross Newhan, L.A. TIMES, 4/9). Bill Conlin: "You are right back to where you were August 12th, right back to where they were desperately trying to avoid ... losing all these desperately inefficient small market teams" ("Sports Reporters," ESPN, 4/9). In Boston, Peter Gammons writes, "The teams for whom the strike was fought are demonstrating that they are the huge losers in the eight months of senseless slaughter" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/9). For more on the plight of MLB's small-market franchises. WHAT NOW? With Ballow's apparent ascension, "the players believe the owners will sit tight, waiting for a crack or the opportunity to get an impasse and implement" (Peter Gammons, BOSTON GLOBE, 4/9). NL VP/Media & Public Affairs Ricky Clemons: "I think you will see an agreement, possibly before June 1, certainly before the All-Star Game" ("Sports Report," BET, 4/8). Bill Conlin on the free agent camp: "You would think the owners would be smart enough to send a few scouts down there, so they can avoid the appearance of collusion" ("Sports Reporters," ESPN, 4/9). LOST A LEGAL FIGHT, WON THE WAR? While several note the problems with the owners' legal strategy (in particular, the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER's examination of the appellate judges' taunting of the Morgan, Lewis & Brockius lawyers), others note the drained free agent market is a clear victory for owners. BUSINESS WEEK's Bernstein & Greising: "Easy guys, you won. A mechanism to slow soaring labor costs is in the works" (BUSINESS WEEK, 4/17 issue). In St. Louis, Bernie Miklasz writes, "It looks like the owners are getting their salary cap all along" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 4/9). In San Francisco, Glenn Dickey writes, "Do you suppose it might be time for the Players Association to rethink its position on a salary cap?" (SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, 4/10). TIME FOR NEW LEADERSHIP? In L.A., Ross Newhan reports "a quiet push among several clubs to begin the search for a new commissioner." Dodgers President Peter O'Malley: "There's no reason why a search couldn't go on concurrently with the negotiations, and I think more and more clubs are realizing that" (L.A. TIMES, 4/9). DIS-UNION: Former Phillie Player Rep Dave Hollins, on the treatment Lenny Dysktra received at a union meeting in February: "The union always likes to talk about how open things are and if we ever have a question or want to say anything we should just speak up. Well, when Lenny walked in they treated him like he was a Russian spy. He wanted to speak and they were all over him. They tried to bury him. Don Fehr never spoke up once. So I had to. That ticked me off. That was my last meeting" (Mult., 4/9).