The House Judiciary Committee's subcomittee on economic and
commercial law approved a "limited" bill aimed at removing
baseball's antitrust exemption should the owners unilaterally
impose a salary cap with the players on strike. The full
Judiciary Commitee is expected to vote on the bill today, and
Chairman Jack Brooks (D-TX) has vowed to get the measure out of
committee. Rep. Mike Synar (D-OK), who sponsored the bill:
"This is an historic day. For the first time in the history of
Congress, a subcommittee -- and tomorrow a committee -- has voted
to remove an exemption that has existed for over 50 years."
However, Synar's bill passed after two "key provisions" desired
by the MLBPA were deleted: 1) An automatic injucntion against a
salary cap until any lawsuits are decided; 2) The courts would
dcided whether the union would have to decertify before a suit
could be heard. MLBPA General Counsel Gene Orza said the union
officials needed to study the changes before reacting
(AP/WASHINGTON POST, 9/29). But Orza did say: "The mere fact a
bill has been reported out is a major step forward" (WALL STREET
JOURNAL, 9/29). Acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig: "Jack Brooks
said he was going to do this so nothing about it is surprising"
(N.Y. TIMES, 9/29). Rep. Hamilton Fish (R-NY), the lone
dissenter: "What is Congress doing interfering in a labor
dispute when there is no national security interest involved?"
(N.Y. NEWSDAY, 9/29).
ON THE SENATE SIDE: The developments in the House "offered
encouragement" to Sen. Howard Metzenbaum (D-OH), who plans to
attach a similar bill as an amendment to an appropriations bill
for the District of Columbia. That could come today, although
one Metzenbaum aide said he may wait until House Judiciary gets
its bill out of committee (N.Y. TIMES, 9/29). Co-sponsor Sen.
Orrin Hatch (R-UT): "There's a lot of maneuvering behind the
scenes" (AP, 9/29). TODAY: The House Subcommittee on Labor-
Management Relations holds a hearing on a bill proposed by Rep.
Pat Williams (D-MT) to impose binding arbitration on both sides.
Mario Lemieux is a defendant in a civil suit filed by a
woman who was hit in the nose by a hockey puck at a game five
years ago. The incident occurred during a Penguins-Rangers game
while play was stopped because of a fight. The woman, Patricia
Ward, is suing both Lemieux and the Penguins for negligence since
Lemiuex flipped the puck during a timeout -- a violation of NHL
rules. Her attorney, Charles Evans, noted a precedent -- a woman
struck by a baseball during batting practice at Three Rivers
successfully suing for damages (Jan Ackerman, PITTSBURGH POST-
A dispute over who will control L.A. Kings President Bruce
McNall's assets -- including his remaining 28% in the Kings --
"has been resolved, with McNall agreeing to turn over clear
control to a court-appointed bankruptcy trustee." The agreement
gives trustee R. Todd Neilson "clear authority to sell McNall's
interest in the Kings at some point. No sale is planned, and
Neilson has agreed to abide by NHL rules requiring league
approval if he chooses to sell the stake." The agreement also
states Neilson is not waiving his rights to potentially challenge
McNall's sale of 72% of the team to Jeffrey Sudikoff and Joseph
Cohen. "Sources, however, indicate that such a challenge is
unlikely and that Neilson is simply preserving his rights."
Attorneys for McNall and the trustee "hailed" the agreement as a
positive step (OTTAWA CITIZEN, 9/29).
On the eve of their lawsuit against MLB, Vincent Piazza and
Vincent Tirendi, two men who removed from the unsuccessful bid to
move the Giants to St. Petersburg, reached a settlement with
baseball officials. Both sides would only offer a short
statement saying that they had reached an "amicable resolution,"
but sources revealed some specifics. MLB will agree to pay them
more than $6M and declare that the owners were wrong in rejecting
the two as possible owners. Piazza: "We got everything we
wanted. We got money, and we got the apology." The settlement
also stipluates that the two may apply again for ownership
(Michael Bamberger, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 9/29).
TAMPA/ST. PETE GROUP IS WATCHING: Vincent Naimoli, who led
the Giants bid and now retains local rights to any expansion
effort, said he was pleased the suit was resolved. But Noam
Neusner of the TAMPA TRIBUNE notes that videotaped depositions
taken for the case "might come in handy" if Naimoli and St.
Petersburg officials decide to "reactivate their now-dormant
lawsuit" against MLB. Naimoli's attorney, John Higgins, said if
Piazza and Tirendi "struck a deal guaranteeing them ownership of
an expansion team elsewhere, and thus eliminating St. Petersburg
from contention," then the city and Naimoli "could resurrect
their court action" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 9/29).