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MLB “won't change its schedule to boost the sport's chances of getting back into the Olympics,” according to Ronald Blum of the AP. MLB Commissioner Bud Selig on Thursday said, "Look, we can't stop our season in August. We just can't. You can't say to your fans: 'We'll see you in the next period of time. Your club loses some players but yours doesn't.'" He said of MLB taking a break for Olympic play, "Do I wish I could? Yes. But is it practical? No." Meanwhile, Selig “once again insisted he will not accept a new contract when his current term expires in December 2014.” MLB’s security officials also “met Thursday but Selig said no changes are expected in the rules on bags fans can bring to ballparks, generally limited to 16 inches by 16 inches by eight inches.” He said of the Boston Marathon bombings, "I wouldn't say that Boston has changed anything. Each club makes its own decision" (AP, 4/25). Selig said that he “expects to visit Chicago in May to get an update" on Cubs Chair Tom Ricketts’ plan to renovate Wrigley Field. In Chicago, Chris De Luca notes Selig is “particularly eager to see how Ricketts plans to install a giant video screen at the old ballpark.” Selig: “I have to see the final plans. They haven’t divulged them yet. I really don’t know what’s going up. I think a lot of people want to see those plans” (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 4/26).
All referees and umpires who have worked at the U.S. Open tennis championships since '05 are now part of a class action lawsuit suing the USTA for back pay and damages, a N.Y. federal judge ruled Thursday. The lawsuit, brought by four referees in '11, can proceed under New York state labor law, meaning class members have to choose to opt out of the case to not be a part of it. That is significant because Judge Andrew Carter could have let the case proceed under federal law only, and then members would have to opt in. The USTA had stoutly resisted creating the class, arguing the refs and umpires were independent contractors not covered under labor laws. The USTA also argued there was so much difference between the jobs of the proposed class that they could not withstand the legal test for creating one. While the court was not ruling on the merits of the case, Carter wrote in his opinion he disagreed with the USTA contention that there was so much difference between the job descriptions of the refs and umpires they could not be covered under a class. “While the line to chair umpire experience certainly varies at the margins, it appears from the deposition testimony, together with declarations offered by the USTA -- that most, if not all, Umpires perform a similar swath of duties,” Carter wrote. It is unclear exactly how many people will be part of the suit (last year alone there were 289 line umpires who worked the Open). Carter ordered the USTA to make available to the class counsel by Monday a computer file listing all the names with addresses. The mailing is ordered to go out by May 6. The class counsel is Abbey Spanier, LLP, and The Law Office of Mitchell Schley, LLP. The USTA could not immediately be reached for comment.