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Volume 24 No. 115

Leagues Governing Bodies

     AHL President Dave Andrews wants to expand the 16-team
league.  Portland Pirates owner Tom Ebright, chair of the AHL's
expansion committee whose Pirates originally were in Baltimore,
said Baltimore could "re-emerge" with the "right ownership and
environment."  Bob Teck and Alan Gertner, partners in the Gertec
Corp. which builds private ice hockey arenas, are possible
Baltimore owners.  The two have also scouted sites in PA and NJ.
The AHL would like to expand by 3-4 teams by next year, with a
decision possible by December 16 (Sandra McKee, Baltimore SUN,
11/30).

     As expected, the MLBPA did not make a counter-proposal to
the owners' tax plan.  Jayson Stark in Philadelphia writes, "It
was once expected that the players' negotiating team might feel
some sense of urgency to make significant headway this week,
before the owners simply unilaterally implement their salary cap
in five days and throw the baseball world into chaos."  In the
four-hour meeting, the union asked the owners "a lot of questions
about the tax proposal they'd made 13 days ago.  Then they all
broke for dinner.  And absolutely zero progress was made -- not
that that's anything new" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 11/30).  Braves
Player Rep Tom Glavine: "If they are waiting for us to give in,
then it is going to be a long wait" (ESPN, 11/29).  Rockies Owner
Jerry McMorris:  "We are still not really negotiating.  We
continue to circle the wagons, we don't have a counter-proposal,
and we don't have any real negotiations going on, we have a lot
of explanations going on, a lot of technical questions happened
today" ("Sports Tonight," CNN, 11/29).  Both sides "appeared
yesterday to have all but given up on reaching a negotiated
settlement" (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 11/30).  The players
said that a counter-proposal could come as a result of their
meeting next week in Atlanta (Mult., 11/30).  MLBPA Exec Dir
Donald Fehr: "We have a board meeting next week, and that board
meeting will be to review everything from top to bottom, and I am
certainly not going to make a judgement now on to what the board
is likely to decide" (ESPN, 11/29).
     REPLACEMENTS OR REINFORCEMENTS?  Red Sox CEO John Harrington
hinted that owners could field replacement players: "Our
preference is to put our major league players out there.  But if
they're unwilling to play, then we'll have to go with someone
else who is willing to play" (USA TODAY, 11/30).  In New York,
Joel Sherman speculates that if the owners do turn to replacement
players, some MLB players may cross the line.  "Should players
start trickling in and threaten to create a flood that would
damage" the MLBPA unity, the union could attempt to send its
members back to work without signing an agreement (N.Y. POST,
11/30).  But ESPN's Keith Olbermann notes: "On the whole, things
are bad enough that John Harrington said today that even when the
players do end the strike without an agreement, the owners might
then turn around and lock them out" ("SportsCenter," 11/29).
There are "potential problems" with replacements.  Orioles Owner
Peter Angelos, "who built his Baltimore-based law practice
representing local trade unions, has told associates he won't
field a replacement team."  And Ontario provincial law prohibits
the use of replacement workers, so the Blue Jays could not field
a replacement team -- "at least one that plays its home games in
Toronto" (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 11/30).  Harrington noted
that the "Quebec situation" has been worked out so Montreal can
use replacement players (N.Y. TIMES, 11/30).  The BOSTON HERALD
reports that the Red Sox held a staff meeting last week "at which
initial plans were formulated to start the season if the major
leaguers remain on strike" (BOSTON HERALD, 11/30).     THE
IMPASSE:  Sources indicate that the owners have told GMs to come
to Chicago next week.  The GMs will conduct the Rule 5 draft of
unprotected minor leaguers, then will be briefed by owners on the
"ramifications" of the new rules (PHILA. INQUIRER, 11/30).
Assuming owners declare an impasse and implement a cap, 21 teams
would have to reduce payrolls by a combined $55M (WASHINGTON
TIMES, 11/30).
     EXPANSION:  Next week's owners meeting will also include a
Sunday session during which the owners will discuss expansion and
interview the prospective ownership group from Orlando.
Harrington said the "likelihood of expansion remains low as long
a there is not a settlement, but indicated it would not be out of
the question after implementation" (Peter Schmuck, Baltimore SUN,
11/30).

     NHLPA Exec Dir Bob Goodenow said yesterday that negotiations
will resume tomorrow.  Asked what to expect, Goodenow told the
N.Y. POST:  "We haven't set any final offers or drawn any lines
in the sand. ... We reviewed the whole range of issues and
further refined the players' opinions and feelings on them.  We
didn't really come up with any decisions" (Mark Everson, N.Y.
POST, 11/30).  The talks will reportedly be held in Chicago.
Bruins President & GM Harry Sinden, who will attend the meetings,
said he was told to keep Thursday, Friday and the weekend
available (Nancy Marrapese, BOSTON GLOBE, 11/30).
     DISSENSION OR SMOKESCREEN?  Goodenow "is drawing fire from
his constituents and agents who claim he's already given away the
farm.  But the attacks on Goodenow may actually be a smokescreen
as the union prepares to deliver its counter-proposal to the
owners when negotiations resume tomorrow."  Blackhawk Jeremy
Roenick told the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES:  "I hope people realize how
much the players have given up to get hockey back on the ice.
Many of the players -- I'd say 99% -- feel we've given up too
much already and we're not going to give up any more."  One
"prominent" agent said he believes Goodenow has "messed up."  And
a player rep from the Central Division added:  "The boys are
really pissed off at Goodenow.  They figure he's given up too
much."  But Maple Leafs President & GM Cliff Fletcher warns
against taking the rhetoric too seriously:  "There's so much spin
going on ... from both sides" (Dave Fuller, TORONTO SUN, 11/30).
Citing the rookie cap, Canuck Jeff Brown said there is
"absolutely nothing more" the union can offer:  "I know for a
fact a lot of guys are pissed with what we've already given up"
(Elliott Pap, VANCOUVER SUN, 11/30).
     STANDIN' BY THEIR MAN:  MSG President Dave Checketts said
the players are "mistaken" if they believe that large-market
teams such as the Rangers will pressure the league to make a
deal:  "We stand behind Gary Bettman.  We've come this far, we
have to make sure we find a responsible solution to the problems
we face as a league. ... The league's view is my view as well"
(N.Y. POST, 11/30).
     WILL THE TAX RETURN?  One union official said it was
"accurate" to say that the return of the owners' luxury tax would
be a deal-breaker.  But the official added:  "Unless they
surprised us and come back with a tax that was like 25 percent,
something that was negotiable" (Dave Fay, WASHINGTON TIMES,
11/30).  Blues Player Rep Guy Carbonneau said he believes the
owners' luxury tax may be a "bluff"  (Dave Fulller, TORONTO SUN,
11/30).
     TEAM GRETZKY:  Wayne Gretzky's all-stars kick off their tour
tomorrow with a game against the IHL Vipers at The Palace at
Auburn Hills outside Detroit.  The European opener in Helsinki on
Saturday will be seen on CBC's "Hockey Night in Canada" -- with
sponsorship by Molson -- kicking off "what amounts to the first
NHL marketing gambit in Europe.  The irony is that the league
wants no part of the six-game tour and is doing most everything
it can to kibosh the affair, even though two games are on ESPN"
(Tony Gallagher, Vancouver PROVINCE, 11/30).  NHL VP of Public
Relations Arthur Pincus denied that anyone at the league tried to
stop the tour (Kevin Allen, USA TODAY, 11/30).

     49ers VP John McVay "has seen more blindside hits on
quarterbacks this season than he can ever recall." That's why he
is proposing that the NFL competition committee study the use of
a penalty box, similar to that in the NHL.  McVay:  "So many
people are putting hits on quarterbacks this year that someone
needs to come up with something innovative to try to stop it."
Under McVay's plan, a player would have to sit out 15 plays for a
late hit or roughing on a quarterback, but unlike the NHL, the
defense would not have to play a man short.  McVay says he has
not spoken with any competition committee members about making it
an item on next March's agenda (Timothy Smith, N.Y. TIMES,
11/30).  Agent Leigh Steinberg, who has 17 QBs as clients, will
bring together leading brain specialists to discuss every aspect
of head injuries.  Steinberg will invote every NFL QB to the
seminar.  Key topics:  the cumulative effect of concussions, and
whether repeated concussions cause premature senility (USA TODAY,
11/30).  In New York, Phil Mushnick writes, "The NFL, for several
years, has packaged and sold unneccessary, undeniably dangerous
violence.  The time has passed for Paul Tagliabue to do what
David Stern did and pull back on the sick stuff.  The NFL is not
only losing its standing as a sport, it's systematically losing
its highest paid stars to brain contusions" (N.Y. POST, 11/30).

     PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem, "the man with the soft
CEO demeanor who governs a normally laid-back sport, has turned
tough guy and is playing hardball."  Finchem said the PGA Tour
will suspend players who choose to play events, without
permission, on the newly created World Tour (Glenn Sheely,
ATLANTA CONSITUTION, 11/30).  Finchem: "If a new tour becomes a
reality in 1995 or thereafter, our members will have to decide
whether they want to continue to play on the PGA Tour or play on
a new tour.  This is not dissimilar from the decisions [pro]
athletes in other sports were forced to make when competing
leagues were formed."  Finchem laid out some points that need to
be considered when forming more int'l events:  The size of the
field, eligibility, purse breakdown/money guarantees, event
selection, charity and governance.  Finchem: "I would invite all
PGA Tour members, including Greg Norman, and all other
individuals and organizations involved in the world of golf to
work together to consider a series of international competitions
which could meet the above criteria" (PGA Tour).
     ON THE FTC PROBE:  Finchem also addressed the current FTC
investigation of the PGA Tour: "We believe the FTC staff's
position is not well-founded.  These rules (a) have been
responsible for tremendous growth in professional golf output in
this country (whether measured by number of professional golfers,
number of competitive tournament opportunities, amount of golf on
television or prize money); (b) have provided in excess of $250
million in charitable contributions over the years; and (c) form
the basis for the structure of the sport of golf that is superior
to the structure of any other professional sport" (PGA Tour).
Finchem said the FTC process could take 4-5 years, and it is
possible the PGA Tour will ask for some intervention from
Congress (WASHINGTON POST, 11/30).