SBD/13/Leagues Governing Bodies

SERVICE TIME IN MIDST OF FINAL WRANGLING ON MLB LABOR DEAL

     Representatives of MLB's players and owners did not meet
until late last night as the pace of talks on a new collective
bargaining agreement slowed.  Multiple reports cite the issue of
service time lost during the strike as being the major impediment
to a deal at this point.  In Philadelphia, Jayson Stark notes
service time "has brought all the progress of the last few days
to a standstill" (PHILA. INQUIRER, 8/13).  USA TODAY's Hal Bodley
notes the deal "is in jeopardy" over the issue (USA TODAY, 8/13).
     ENTER THE HARD-LINERS:  A group of "hard-line owners," led
by the White Sox's Jerry Reinsdorf, balked at a deal arranged by
MLB chief labor negotiator Randy Levine which allowed for the
players to be credited for time lost to the strike in return for
"appropriate trade-offs," according to Jayson Stark.  Other
resisting clubs have players who would be lost to free agency
(PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 8/13).
     POSSIBLE TRADE-OFFS:  Owners also seek to have MLBPA agree
not to pursue any legal claims for actions taken during the
strike, with some touting that as a possible trade-off for
service time, according to the WASHINGTON POST.  One union
source:  "Randy already knows that won't fly" (Mark Maske,
WASHINGTON POST, 8/13).  One union attorney told the L.A. TIMES
that the union cannot waive those legal claims "because people
were wronged.  Some of them were young.  Some of them are out of
baseball now" (Ross Newhan, L.A. TIMES, 8/13).  The two sides
also debated the 2001 option year, which the union wants tax-free
(Ronald Blum, AP/WASHINGTON TIMES, 8/13).  Jayson Stark notes the
owners may use service time to get the union to relinquish its
option for 2001 (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 8/13).
     HOW DIRE IS IT?  One source on the players' side:  "We'll
struggle through the day a little bit.  But I think we'll come
out of the woods" (WASHINGTON POST, 8/13).  Red Sox CEO John
Harrington:  "Service time is a major issue but that should not
be a deal breaker" (AP/WASHINGTON TIMES, 8/13).  One N.L. owner:
"We're not on the verge of getting it done.  There has been a lot
of talk but it's all illusory" (Jerome Holtzman, CHICAGO TRIBUNE,
8/13).  One management source said the hang-up over service time
could lengthen talks by "as much as a couple of weeks."  Another
source described talks as being "in the emergency room" and the
next 24 hours as "critical" (Jayson Stark, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER,
8/13).  MLBPA Exec Dir Don Fehr, explaining the union's
insistence on granting service time:  "That's one of the things
you do when you make peace, you put people back to where they
would have been" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 8/12).
     TAXING MATTERS:  The latest on the payroll luxury tax
indicates that the threshold would be set at $51.5M for '97, the
first year the 35% tax is in effect, about $54M for '98, and
about $58M in '99 (WASHINGTON POST, 8/13).  In New York, Murray
Chass reports the two sides are about a percentage point apart --
 34% or 33% -- on the rate for the third year, and less than
$200,000 apart on the threshold, which will be between $58M and
$59M (N.Y. TIMES, 8/13).
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