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Volume 24 No. 117

Leagues Governing Bodies

     The baseball labor negotiations adjourned Saturday "with a
glimmer of hope," as owners will prepare a new proposal to be
offered on Thursday in Washington, DC. Representatives of both
sides met on Saturday for only about 15 minutes, but the
principals departed "expressing renewed hope that a settlement is
at least possible" (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 11/13).  Word of
a new proposal, after two-and-a-half days of discussions led by
mediator William Usery in Rye Brook, NY, "is the first tangible
sign of progress in the stalled labor talks in months" (Steve
Zipay, N.Y. NEWSDAY, 11/13).  Red Sox CEO John Harrington, who is
heading the owners' bargaining team:  "It is fair to say that
this weekend was mutually productive. We've listened to what the
players have said, and I think we're aware of their concerns to a
greater degree" (Peter Schmuck, Baltimore SUN, 11/13).  Usery:
"Both sides have been dealing in good faith" (N.Y. POST, 11/12).
But MLBPA Exec. Dir. Donald Fehr remained cautious:  "We'll just
have to wait and see what happens Thursday.  We'll be there"
(Jayson Stark, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 11/13).  Braves President
Stan Kasten said of the meetings scheduled for this week: "The
understanding is that we will not leave until we have a deal"
(I.J. Rosenberg, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 11/14).
     THE PROPOSAL:  According to Sunday's N.Y. TIMES, the owners
had a proposal ready to submit on Friday, but Usery convinced
them to hold off, "fearing the proposal, retaining the [salary]
cap concept, would be counterproductive."  Murray Chass writes
that the new proposal will "come from the owners' desire to
position themselves with a more realistic proposal to implement
unilaterally if and when -- sometime next month -- they declare
an impasse in the negotiations" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/13).  Although
"sources" said the cap might be removed from the new deal,
Harrington would not confirm that (Steve Zipay, N.Y. NEWSDAY,
11/13).  But Hal Bodley writes that "owners will scrap the salary
cap and replace it" with a "luxury tax."  However, "if the tax is
too high, the union will reject the proposal because it would
restrict spending" (USA TODAY, 11/14).  One "prominent baseball
person" expected the owners to make a luxury-tax proposal, and
believed the owners now favored a negotiated settlement based
around a taxation system rather than the salary cap (Jayson
     WINTER MEETINGS:  With general managers beginning their
annual meetings today in Phoenix, Peter Gammons writes that
"there is a growing rift between the majority of general
managers, who have to run the baseball operations and the owners
and lawyers who have messed things up."  Discussions at the
meetings will revolve around "downsizing payrolls" because of the
losses of the strike and the "huge loss in national TV dollars"
(Peter Gammons, BOSTON GLOBE, 11/13).

     "To the players, it was a 'significant' concession.  To the
owners, it was nothing," according to Damien Cox in Saturday's
TORONTO STAR.  On Thursday, the NHLPA had offered a proposal
"initially portrayed as a comprehensive scheme that would control
entry-level player salaries through a variety of methods.  As it
turned out, the proposal contained concepts, but no hard
numbers."  One league official told the CANADIAN PRESS the offer
was "the most insignificant concession in the history of labor
negotiations" (TORONTO STAR, 11/12).  One GM:  "I thought we had
a deal in the works.  Now I'm convinced we won't have a season.
This thing has no teeth, no bite" (Jim Smith, N.Y. NEWSDAY,
11/12).  NHLPA VP Marty McSorley, on an ownership rejection of
the players' offer:  "It would mean that there is no desire
whatsoever for compromising.  It's an attempt for absolute
control" (Joe LaPointe, N.Y. TIMES, 11/12).
     THE LEAGUE'S OFFICIAL RESPONSE:  A statement was released on
Friday by NHL Senior VP & General Counsel Jeff Pash:  "The NHL
has not been offered a rookie cap.  Rather, the union has made
some proposals relating to entry-level players, which are being
considered as the negotiating process continues" (WASHINGTON
POST, 11/12).
     WHAT ARE THEY AFTER?  In Toronto, Gare Joyce writes, "The
players are willing to commit to a financial hit to get the game
going again. ... But the league sounds as if it wants not just a
quick fix but a far-reaching one to boot" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL,
11/12).  In Boston, Kevin Paul Dupont writes Bettman and NHL
owners want a "grand slam":  "The owners won't say it, but they
must relish the union's softening.  Undoubtedly, they'll keep
pushing Bettman to get more, bargain for a real rookie cap and an
overall salary cap.  That's why their response on Friday was only
a desire to keep talking at the table" (BOSTON GLOBE, 11/13).
     THIS WEEK:  Sources say the NHL is preparing a counter-offer
for tomorrow or Wednesday, when NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and
NHLPA Exec Dir Bob Goodenow are in Toronto for Hall of Fame
ceremonies (CP/Vancouver PROVINCE, 11/13).
     DEADLINE TIME?  This morning, Dupont reports there could be
a "significant change" in the NHLPA's strategy:  the possibility
that the union "might pick a date in the near future and insist
on a contract settlement -- effectively a drop-dead date" (BOSTON
GLOBE, 11/14).
     PLAYERS TALK TOURNEY:  The NHLPA is considering several
"major arenas" across North America for an international
tournament this winter if the lockout continues.  Arenas
mentioned:  The Palace at Auburn Hills, the Rosemont Horizon, and
sites in Minnesota, Hamilton and Saskatoon.  Palace/NBA Pistons
President Tom Wilson:  "We'd be very interested."  NHLPA execs
say the tournament could begin in late December or early January,
after Wayne Gretzky and other stars finish their planned tour of
Europe (Joe LaPointe, N.Y. TIMES, 11/13).  Gretzky's agent, Mike
Barnett, has "hit a few snags" in organizing the European tour,
with available arenas (7,000 or more) the biggest problem.
Barnett expects a 5-city tour from December 1-12 (Kevin Paul
Dupont, BOSTON GLOBE, 11/13).  The Hamilton tourney raised
$500,000 for Ronald McDonald Charities of Canada and $200,000 for
minor league hockey (Mult., 11/14).
     QUOTE-BOARD:  Montreal writer Jeff Blair on the 4-on-4
tourney:  "It was no worse than your average all-star game with
better goaltending" (MONTREAL GAZETTE, 11/13).  Flyers GM Bobby
Clarke, a former NHLPA President:  "Read Marvin Miller's book and
you'll know what Bob Goodenow is doing. ... If players start
thinking management is the enemy, then we've got big problems"