WILL AN ELECTION-YEAR CONGRESS LIFT THE EXEMPTION?
The House Judiciary Committee holds hearings tomorrow on
baseball's antitrust exemption. A bill currently before the
House would lift the exemption if the owners were to unilaterally
impose a cap. Harvard Law prof. Paul Weiler: "This is an issue
that's been in the Congress for 40 years, but I think it's a real
possibility this time. Especially if it looks like there's going
to be no baseball next year, lifting the exemption could become a
politically attractive move." Former Commissioner Fay Vincent:
"Basketball and football are doing just fine without an antitrust
exemption. It's convenient for baseball to have it. I don't
think it's critical" (Bill Falk, N.Y. NEWSDAY, 9/20). In
Washington, Shirley Povich writes there is "some prospect now
[Congress] will get off its butt and take a swipe at the thing"
(WASHINGTON POST, 9/21).
COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION: The most recent CNN/USA
TODAY/GALLUP poll found 41% say they will be as interested in
baseball if the MLB uses replacement players, with 23% more
interested. 43% favor the owners' position, 27% back the
players. Overall, baseball has dropped as favorite sport from
21% to 16% since August (USA TODAY, 9/21). For another
independent survey on baseball, see #24.