RATING THE MAJOR PLAYERS: FAILING GRADES ABOUND
"THE GREAT LAKES GANG": In the latest issue of THE SPORTING
NEWS, Steve Marantz profiles the Acting Commissioner Bud Selig,
White Sox Owner Jerry Reinsdorf, Cubs President Stanton Cook,
Braves Chair Bill Bartholamay and Twins Owner Carl Pohlad -- "the
Great Lakes Gang" -- who engineered the "coup" to dump Fay
Vincent in '92 and now stand as "the most powerful coalition of
owners." Some believe that if a new coalition rises up to
challenge them, it could be "The Merchandisers" -- the Astros'
Drayton McLane, the Rockies' Jerry McMorris, the Royals' David
Glass, the Giants' Peter Magowan, the Tigers' Mike Ilitch the
Marlins' Wayne Huizenga, and possibly the Mariners' John Ellis.
Of that group, Glass, the CEO of Wal-Mart, "may be the most
influential" (THE SPORTING NEWS, 9/19 issue).
BULLPEN CALL: Agent Tom Reich said replacing Richard
Ravitch with Red Sox CEO John Harrington would move baseball's
shutdown "a giant step closer to settlement." Reich: "If this
is going to get resolved, [Harrington] and a couple of others
like him are going to have to get even more prominently involved
in negotiations. ... John Harrington is one of the best minds in
the business, and if there's hope for a resolution -- and it
looks very hopeless right now -- it rests in the minds of people
like Harrington." Reich called relations between Ravitch and Don
Fehr "downright hostile" and "unacceptable": "This is not the
Middle East" (Joe Giuliotti, BOSTON HERALD, 9/16).
LAST-MINUTE MOVES: San Diego-based agent Tony Attanasio
said he was encouraged by three unnamed owners to call Selig
Tuesday night to offer a concept that Attanasio said, "seemed to
draw some interest from Selig." The plan was based on the
payroll and revenue tax plan, with an increase in the tax.
Attanasio suggested a 5-year trial, "during which either side
could reopen after two or three years." He also proposed joint
ventures and that the MLBPA be involved in choosing the next
commissioner. Attanasio was told by Brewers General Counsel
Wendy Selig-Prieb that they would weigh the proposal. The next
day, her father, Bud Selig, cancelled the season. Attanasio:
"It made me realize that the whole thing was predetermined, as
the union had tried to tell me. The owners never had a Plan B,
never made a counterproposal" (Ross Newhan, L.A. TIMES, 9/16).