OWNERS FACE TIMETABLE DECISION ON IMPOSING SALARY CAP
The major decision facing the owners is whether to declare
an impasse and implement their salary cap system, and
"implementation seems to be the most critical step." One source
on the players' side said management "might be having second
thoughts because the strike has drastically changed the clubs'
economic position and the change could affect the proposed
payroll cap." The source said if the owners do implement, "they
might first alter their proposal to account for the change and
offer it to the union" (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 9/17). Bill
Madden writes, "Judging by what has happened so far, you have to
believe the owners are intent on implementing their system (N.Y.
DAILY NEWS, 9/18).
NO WAY, NO HOW: Former MLBPA Exec Dir Marvin Miller: "I can
think of no terms, no conditions of employment that would produce
a settlement that would be ratified by a majority of the players
and by 21 or more of the 28 owners. (Frank Fitzpatrick,
PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 9/17).
IN THE LINE OF FIRE: One attorney "familiar with such
matters" said Bud Selig's dual role as small-market owner and
acting commissioner "has its perils": "What would really get him
in trouble is if some franchise goes broke and then a trustee or
somebody who comes in to run the club brings a lawsuit because of
his conflict of interest. And, clearly he has a serious conflict
of interest" (Frank Fitzpatrick, PHILA. INQUIRER, 9/18). Selig
is pictured on the cover of Sunday's NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE --
sitting at a table with a bat in front of him (N.Y. TIMES, 9/18).
DEATH TO TBN? The fact that a work stoppage ensures the
owners will revisit The Baeball Network provides "one possible
explanation" why Yankees owner George Steinbrenner "has gone
along so easily with the small-market owners while losing several
million dollars more than them." Steinbrenner: "I think we'll
have the right to walk. I'm not hopeful for that [TBN] deal
working. You've got Fox, and CBS has to be hungry" (Jon Heyman,
N.Y. NEWSDAY, 9/16).
THE PLAYERS' LEAGUE: Don Fehr "cautions against
overexuberance" about a players' league: "Venues are a major
problem." One agent: "Are players willing to go from making $5
million to losing $2 million? I think not" (Peter Gammons,
BOSTON GLOBE, 9/18).
BRING IN THE POLITICIANS: Representatives of the owners and
players met with a committee of the U.S. Conference of Mayors,
which is expected to take up the issue of the strike at its
meeting this week in Knoxville, TN. Cities with MLB franchises
are considering a lawsuit that would focus on violations of
stadium leases as well as lost jobs and tax revenue due to the
strike (AP/mult., 9/17).
CUTBACKS: In a meeting with about 110 Cardinal and Civic
Center employees, Cardinals President Mark Lamping said that no
front-office employees would be laid off (Rick Hummel, ST. LOUIS
POST-DISPATCH, 9/17). However, the Padres and A's could not
afford to maintain their full staff. On Friday, Padres President
Dick Freeman announced the firing of half the team's
administrative staff, including the team's publicity head (AP,
9/17). The A's also announced a layoff of 17 out of 71 front
office workers. A's President & GM Sandy Alderson: "We held the
line as long as we could" (AP, 9/16). Thirteen teams have
decided not to participate in the Arizona Instructional League
this fall (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 9/18). A vote on the fate of the
Arizona League will be held this week (Peter Gammons, BOSTON
OPEN HOUSE: The Cardinals will open Busch Stadium to the
fans next Sunday. Admission and parking will be free. Fans will
be able to tour the clubhouses, press box and play on the field
(ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 9/17).