SBD/6/Leagues Governing Bodies


     The "operative issue" that MLB owners claim stands in the
way of a labor deal with the players is the "second-tax free
year," according to Murray Chass of the N.Y. TIMES.  But "the
ease with which owners questioning a possible deal have moved
from service time to a second tax-free year has raised the
question" if the issue is a "genuine potential deal breaker," or
a way for owners opposed to the deal to ruin it.  The answer
could "become clear" when baseball's ruling Executive Council
meets in Chicago next Wednesday.  The tax-free year would take
affect in 2000 with a union option for 2001, which would mark the
second year free of a luxury tax on player payrolls.  According
to one unidentified owner, some owners don't like the sun-setting
of a tax for one year, "let alone two."  The owner: "What kind of
tax system comes and goes away?  The salary cap doesn't disappear
in the NBA.  We could be back in the same mess and it might make
it worse."  Chass notes the union has given owners concessions
for the option on the second tax-free year in 2001, but the
question remains if enough owners, 21 are needed for
ratification, "believe the exchange is worthwhile, or will the
agreement's opponents do enough damage to undermine the deal"
(N.Y. TIMES, 9/6).
     DOING SOMETHING RIGHT: A poll on ESPN's SportsZone asked
fans if they like the MLB's wildcard system.  Of respondents, 84%
said yes, 16% no.  When asked if they liked the wildcard when it
was first introduced last year, 63% said yes, while 37% said no
("Baseball Tonight," ESPN, 9/5).
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