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BASEBALL BACK TO BUSINESS: SENATE ANTITRUST BILL REVIVED
Published April 6, 1995
The Senate Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on antitrust, business rights and competition approved a bill that would partially repeal baseball's antitrust exemption on a 4-0 voice vote. Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Orrin Hatch: "This is an aberration that government has created, and it is an aberration that government should fix." Sen. Alan Simpson, who arrived after the vote, said he would introduce an amendment at the committee level to require owners to allow players to approve future commissioners, and to force the owners to remove restrictions placed on the commissioner after Fay Vincent's removal. The amendment would also offer the owners the chance to ask the president to appoint the commissioner (AP/ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 4/6). MANAGEMENT SHAKE-UP: The WASHINGTON POST reports that owners have decided to dismiss Chuck O'Connor as their lead labor attorney. "It's not immediately clear who, if anyone, would replace O'Connor. Several management people speculated today that the owners may even consider appointing a commissioner within the next few months." Former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell and former Democratic National Committee Chair Paul Kirk were listed as possible candidates (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 4/6). NO PLAN, NO GAIN: Former Commissioner Vincent writes in an op-ed, "Lack of planning is endemic to baseball. In 1990, the owners' labor lawyer told me that any fallback positions would be leaked by owners, so none could be discussed. As a result, during the heat of negotiation, the owners are constantly dealing with problems on the run. There is no careful war-gaming to develop countermoves in anticipation of obvious union thrusts. Meanwhile, the union plays for time, confident that eventually a legal mistake will give it the dispositive edge" (MIAMI HERALD, 4/6).