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Volume 24 No. 116
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     Representatives of baseball's owners and players union meet
this afternoon in Washington, DC, for the first time in 40 days,
"this time, and for the first time, under the watchful eye of
legendary mediator," William Usery.  Usery met with a group of
owner reps yesterday and, before this afternoon's talks, he will
meet with a group of players.  Those meetings have two purposes
for Usery.  One, "is to get both sides comfortable with him"; and
the second, "was to distill in his mind the most fundamental
issues in the dispute" (Michael Bamberger, PHILA. INQUIRER,
10/19).  "No one expects any dramatic development to emerge from
the initial stage of the resumption of talks."  At the joint
session, Usery is "expected to work out ground rules for future
bargaining sessions."  Two matters to be decided are the site for
meetings and the "availability of the principals to the news
media" (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 10/19).  "There are rumblings
these days -- especially among agents involved in the talks as
intermediaries -- that the sides may be more receptive to a
settlement now than they have been, and that a deal perhaps could
be struck within the next month or so without the owners
unilaterally imposing a salary-cap" (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST,
     PLAYERS' LEAGUE:  ESPN's Keith Olbermann reported that agent
Dick Moss was to hold a news conference today about the new
league he hopes to start.  But it was postponed.  Olbermann
quipped:  "This just in, the new league has just gone on strike"
("SportsCenter," ESPN, 10/18).