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Published December 2, 1996
MLB writers, analysts and columnists gave their opinions on the owners vote and the impending labor peace. Here's a round-up of some of the major markets. AWAY WE GO: In Atlanta, I.J. Rosenberg notes the deal "isn't expected to hold down salaries much" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 11/27). In Atlanta, Mark Bradley writes "So what?" on the labor deal, adding MLB "has rendered itself a lesser sport. It is hockey in the summertime" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 11/27). In Baltimore, John Eisenberg: "It's not a day for applause ... the game is still a cesspool of self-interest run by 30 owners and 30 agendas" (Baltimore SUN, 11/27). In Boston, Dan Shaughnessy: "One still has to wonder how a deal we were told three weeks ago would lead to ruination suddenly became acceptable" (BOSTON GLOBE, 11/27). In Chicago, Bob Verdi: "It feels more like a truce than peace, but it's a start. Better to fight the forest fire with a squirt gun than to fight not at all" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/27). In Chicago, Jay Mariotti calls the peace "hollow. ... Don't be surprised if small-market teams start to close shop, a sad scene" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 11/27). ESPN's Peter Gammons: "The Pittsburgh's and Oakland's and Kansas City's are going to be like the St. Louis Browns and Philadelphia A's of about forty years ago, and we're going to see an era like the 50's, when the Yankees could be almost assured of being very close to the World Series every year" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 11/26). On ESPN's "The Sports Reporters," William Rhoden: "What they [owners] did with this agreement was a baby step forward, but for them it was like light years" ("The Sports Reporters," ESPN, 12/1). In Houston, Alan Truex, on the labor war: "Its damage will never be fully calculated. Its fallout, like that of an atomic bomb, could last for decades" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 11/27). In L.A., Mike Downey: "Neither side came away happy ... Meantime, the rich get richer and the poorer pay so they can play" (L.A. TIMES, 11/27). In Milwaukee, Michael Bauman: "Small-market teams will have made gains but will have achieved no lasting, clear-cut victory. They will be forced to fight these battles again. This is more of a postponement than a triumph" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 11/27). In Minneapolis, Dan Barreiro: "This big news does little to change the powerful perception that the lords who run baseball have not even the slightest clue they know what they're doing" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 11/27). In New York, Mike Lupica: "Baseball was not saved in Chicago. This was just the owners saving face. ... Baseball didn't win ... The owners didn't win. The players won again" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/27). In New York, Tom Keegan: "The players hammered the owners yet again" (N.Y. POST, 11/27). In New York, Joel Sherman, on revenue sharing: "The deal should have mandated a minimum payroll for all teams" (N.Y. POST, 11/28). In New York, Robert Lipsyte: "Owners have to get past their welfare-state mentality, always asking for tax deals and subsidized housing. Players have to be marketed as products" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/1). In Philadelphia, Rich Hofmann writes under the header, "To Maintain Peace, Let's Waive Fehr, Selig." Hofmann: "Peace in our time. But, oh, the cost" (PHILA. DAILY NEWS, 11/27). In Philadelphia, Jayson Stark: "Funny, we always thought Peace Day in baseball would feel better than this" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 11/27). SI's legal analyst Lester Munson: "The owners gained a little bit of a drag on salaries, the players kept the arbitration and the free agency that is so valuable to them, this is a very good collective bargaining agreement, the most amazing part is they could have done this ... back in '94" ("Sports Tonight," CNN, 11/26). In Washington, Mark Maske: "No one seemed ecstatic about baseball's labor deal. Relieved probably is a better description. Maybe that's a sign that a compromise was truly forged" (WASHINGTON POST, 11/27). In St. Pete, Gary Shelton: "They tell us all is right again, and we are supposed to believe them, and we are supposed to be applauding. We aren't" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 11/27). In Toronto, Neil Campbell writes the deal is a "boon to baseball" in Canada, with interleague rivalries, revenue help for the Expos and the Mariners playing eight dates a year in Vancouver (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 11/27). EDITORIALS: USA TODAY: "Much more needs to be done, and only a commissioner can do it. ... He -- she? -- first must shift the game's focus from the conference room back on the field" (USA TODAY, 11/27). HARTFORD COURANT: "From the players' perspective, the labor agreement is mostly a godsend" (HARTFORD COURANT, 11/29). The N.Y. TIMES: "By any measure, it's a good deal for the players" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/27). The TAMPA TRIBUNE: "Perhaps the best thing to come out of the agreement is interleague play" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 11/28). MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL: "With the luxury tax in effect only for the first three years of the five-year deal, fans are right to wonder about the future" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 11/28). The PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: "One cheer for major league baseball -- and a hope that it's not too late for its many spurned lovers to rediscover their delight in its subtle thrills" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 11/30). Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE: "There isn't a lot here to make fans excited, much less grateful" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 11/29). SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE: "The settlement is a godsend for the ... Padres" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 11/28). ST. PETE TIMES: "Baseball wins, and so do we ... The new agreement takes some tentative steps toward fiscal sanity" (ST. PETE TIMES, 11/28).