BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 127: A STAY OF EXECUTION
Meeting in Chicago, MLB owners agreed to extend negotiations
with the players' union for seven more days rather than
immediately implement their economic system. The owners voted to
give MLB's Executive Council the authority to implement a cap
next Thursday if an agreement between with the union is not
reached. The vote was 25-3, with the Orioles, Blue Jays and Mets
opposing. This "fueled speculation that the previous week of
negotiations brought the two sides closer," but Red Sox CEO John
Harrington said "that wasn't necessarily true" (Jeffrey Flanagan,
K.C. STAR, 12/16). In L.A., Ross Newhan writes, "It is difficult
to say whether [the vote] is merely the latest chapter in what
some believe has been a shameful attempt by both sides to
establish evidence of good-faith bargaining if that becomes an
issue" before the NLRB (L.A. TIMES, 12/16).
FROM THE UNION: With the 7-day reprieve, the union agreed
to postpone basic agreement deadlines: arbitration offers have
been delayed to December 23 and the December 20 deadline for
tendering '95 contracts was put off.
WHY THE DELAY? It was learned that the owners approved a
delayed implementation, "despite a warning" by an attorney for
Mets co-owner Fred Wilpon that the owners cannot withstand a
union challenge before the NLRB (Ross Newhan, L.A. TIMES, 12/16).
"Maybe the owners are getting soft. Maybe they aren't all in
agreement. Whatever, it was their move, and they blinked" (Tom
Knott, WASHINGTON TIMES, 12/16). Not everyone on the owners'
side "was pleased with the delay." Reds Owner Marge Schott
"seemed agitated as she left, amid speculation she wanted to get
on with the implementation" (Mike Shalin, BOSTON HERALD, 12/16).
ESPN's Peter Gammons, asked if the delay was to fix the problem
in Toronto where Ontario law prevents use of replacement players:
"No, that's something that they will deal with in January and
February" ("SportsCenter," 12/15). The owners' negotiating
committee of Harrington, Braves President Stan Kasten and Rockies
Owner Jerry McMorris was credited with the idea of a delay.
Negotiations are expected to resume Monday in Washington, with
William Usery presiding.
OTHER NEWS: Union officials protested information published
by the ASSCOCIATED PRESS on Monday that put union reserve fund
assets from licensing revnues well over $100M. MLBPA Licensing
Chief Judy Heeter called the figures "misleading and inaccurate"
and denied that the information was leaked to the AP or any other
news organization by the union (Bob Brill, THE BRILL REPORT,