BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 92: NEW "SENSITIVITY" IN TALKS
In the first face-to-face negotiations since September,
acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig told MLBPA negotiators the
owners would remove their proposal of a salary-cap if the players
would agree to a system that would give the owners a firm
indication of what their labor costs would be. That echoed a
position the owners have taken since the beginning of the labor
dispute. But one who was in the room said that Selig's offer
"was like starting over." Selig: "There at least was a feeling
of what I call civility and sensitivity that didn't exist in some
of the earlier meetings. Only time will tell, but it did exist
today" (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 11/11). MLBPA General Counsel
Gene Orza: "We're still far apart. But we're better off for
having had this meeting" (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 11/11).
The talks was the first session mediated by William Usery.
RAVITCH TAKES A STEP BACK: In L.A., Ross Newhan writes that
the "only discernible change" in yesterday's talks was the
appointment of Red Sox CEO John Harrington as chair of the owners
negotiating committee, further "diminishing the presence" of MLB
chief negotiator Richard Ravitch (L.A. TIMES, 11/11). According
to participants in the meetings, Ravitch "didn't say a single
word" during the joint session (WASHINGTON POST, 11/11). But a
source familiar with the situation said that Harrington's
appointment was "more cosmetic than substantive" (L.A. TIMES,
11/11). ESPN's Keith Olbermann: "Late news from the meetings in
Rye Brook -- a conclave of owners is meeting late into the
night without Dick Ravitch" ("Sports Center," ESPN, 11/10).
CORRECTION: WJR-Radio in Detroit withdrew their report from
yesterday that baseball owners are considering using replacement
players next year.