STRIKE NOTES: NOTHING TO FEHR BUT EXTRAVAGANCE ITSELF
MLBPA Don Fehr held his second meeting in two days with
union membership, this time in Tampa. While the intended theme
was another show of union solidarity, the "theatrics" of the
Tigers' Lou Whitaker, who showed up in a stretch limo wearing an
"electric blue" suit, "stole the spotlight." Whitaker "wasn't
lambasted, but it was clear he projected an image not favored by
union members" (Bill Chastain, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 9/22). Whitaker
arrived "looking like he had gotten lost on his way to the MTV
Awards. ... While many others questioned the message Whitaker was
sending, he offered no apologies." Whitaker: "Rolls Royces,
limos, big houses ... this is what the game can bring to you"
(Phil Rogers, DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 9/22). It was another "chorus
of rah-rah solidarity," but Bill Madden writes of the players:
"Better they should start imploring [Fehr] to make a deal. ...
The players have accomplished nothing by walking out with seven
weeks left in the season" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/22). Fehr said
without progress in the next several weeks, "the odds that we
will not have a normal spring training go up astronomically"
("SportsCenter," ESPN, 9/21). CHARITY SERIES: Acting MLB
Commissioner Bud Selig said he would take a proposal for a
charity World Series between the Yankees and Expos proposed by
Montreal businessman Hugh Hallward under advisement. Fehr, on
the proposal: "Unless and until somebody on the other side takes
it seriously, I'm not prepared to." Expos alternate Player Rep
Darrin Fletcher doubted players would be interested. Yankee
Player Rep Paul Gibson compared it to a "celebrity softball
event." Giants owner Peter Magowan said there's not enough time
to gather advertising on TV: "It's not going to happen"
("SportsCenter," ESPN, 9/21). Yankees owner George Steinbrenner
said he's interested: "We got Yankee Stadium until Oct. 31, and
they tell me the field's never looked better" (Jeff Blair,
MONTREAL GAZETTE, 9/22).
TV TALK: Rudy Martzke reports Nike has a plan to televise
five all-star games to be televised during World Series time in
October. Nike spokesperson Keith Peters: "There's nothing to
announce, but we are trying to put together something that's fun,
showcases players and benefits youth sports." Networks involved
with baseball (ABC, NBC, Turner and Prime) "likely would pass on
the idea or haven't been contacted." Fox, "not wanting to upset
baseball owners in the event it gets a chance to bid on the sport
after 1995, also can't be discounted." But CBS, with "no
allegiance" to baseball after losing the sport, admitted being
contacted with the idea (USA TODAY, 9/22). In Chicago, Bob Verdi
writes, "in this moment of 'grave economic problems,' it would
behoove them to go to the ready-and-waiting Fox while the getting
is good." ABC Sports President Dennis Swanson, noting that there
is another year left on ABC's and NBC's deal with The Baseball
Network: "We have a contract." Adds Verdi, "Yeah, and we used
to have a World Series, too" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 9/22).
PLAYER MOVES: The Yankees' Paul O'Neill said he would
consider playing in Japan if the '95 season looks to be in
jeopardy (Joel Sherman, N.Y. POST, 9/22). The Marlins' Jeff
Conine got approval from the union to go to the Marlins'
instructional league. His expenses will be picked up by the team
(Pedro Gomez, MIAMI HERALD, 9/21).