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Volume 24 No. 156
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     "The salary-cap proposal that triggered the strike that
killed the World Series is about to become even less appealing to
the players," according to a weekend report in the N.Y. TIMES.
According to a memo sent from MLB's Player Relations committee to
the clubs last week, the owners plan to withdraw the $1B in
guaranteed total payrolls they offered players in their original
proposal.  The guarantee was a "significant element of the plan
in which the owners would give the players" 50% of their revenue
for salaries and other players costs.  The $1B figure was based
on the projected players' share of the owners' estimated $1.78B
revenue this year.  The elimination of the $1B guarantee "comes
as no surprise.  The guarantee was offered on the contingency
that revenues in future years would not fall below this year's
total" of $1.78B (N.Y. TIMES, 10/23).   ESPN's Gary Miller:
"Basically [the owners' plan] has been redesigned so owners can
unilaterally implement it, which they are expected to do, next
month" (ESPN, 10/22).
     OTHER MEMO ELEMENTS:  The memo also attaches figures to the
part of the owners' proposal that deals with "escalating minimum
salaries in their first four years.  First year players would
receive $115,000; 2nd 175,000; 3rd $500,000; 4th $750,000.  The
union has proposed raising the league minimum to at least
$175,000, with nothing set beyond that level (Murray Chass, N.Y.
TIMES, 10/23).  Mediator Bill Usery will not convene a joint
bargaining session until he understands each side's position (USA
TODAY, 10/24).
     GOOD NEWS?  In Boston, Peter Gammons reports that a group of
nine "powerful agents" met with MLBPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr in New
York on Thursday, and left "feeling good" about a December 1
settlement and being able to start signing free agents next week.
One player rep said Friday "that the union office was optimistic
about spring training, and indications are strong that several
big-market owners are increasingly restless about the strike
being prolonged by small-market self-interests" (BOSTON GLOBE,