Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 24 No. 158

Leagues Governing Bodies

     "With yet another doomsday deadline rapidly approaching,
there continued to be the faintest signs of hope Tuesday" that
players and owners were close to finding a resolution (Joseph
Reeves, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 12/21).  Rockies Owner Jerry McMorris,
MLBPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr and Special Mediator William Usery --
who, by the way, turns 71 today -- met alone late last night.
"And while there was speculation that this might mean some sort
of breakthrough was near," one union official said the two sides
needed to determine "whether there is reason to get together as a
group" (Jayson Stark, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 12/21).  McMorris:
"It's time to make a deal if we want one.  There will be
compromises reached.  There will be give and take on various
parts" (AP/Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 12/21).  While most reports note
that McMorris and Phillies Exec VP Dave Montgomery have been
given the authority to make a deal, acting Commissioner Bud Selig
denied that McMorris was sent as the "designated deal-maker"
(Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 12/21).  McMorris will meet again with
Fehr this morning and the owners' full negotiating committee will
arrive later in the day for joint talks (Hal Bodley, USA TODAY,
     IN DISPUTE:  Again, it appeared the "potential basis for a
settlement" could be a two-tiered tax that features a relatively
small tax on all 28 teams' payrolls, and a 2nd tax assessed
against teams who exceed a certain payroll level (Jayson Stark,
     IS THERE A DEADLINE?  While the owners have a self-imposed
deadline for implementation at midnight tomorrow, many reports
note that they may decide to hold off on declaring an impasse.
"The union is winning the paper chase, but it remains to be seen
whether a couple of unfavorable government rulings will
discourage the owners"  (Peter Schmuck, Baltimore SUN, 12/21).
MLBPA General Counsel Gene Orza said he thought "owners were
becoming aware making a deal was their best option":  "There are
more and more people uncomfortable with the system they would
implement" (USA TODAY, 12/21).  But McMorris said owners are
still working under the premise of a Thursday deadline (Thom
Loverro, WASHINGTON TIMES, 12/21).
     ANOTHER NLRB LOSS FOR OWNERS:  The NLRB dismissed an unfair
labor practice charge against the MLBPA by the owners concerning
alleged threats against potential strikebreakers.  A week ago,
the NLRB said it would issue two unfair labor practice complaints
against owners over their failure to make a $7.8M contribution to
the players' pension fund (I.J. Rosenberg, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION,
12/21).  MLB plans to appeal the NLRB's dismissal of the threats
complaint (MLB).
     NEWS & NOTES:  In an interview with ESPN that was made
available to the ASSOCIATED PRESS, incoming Senate Judiciary
Chair Sen. Orrin Hatch said he believes that some owners are
trying to break the union:  "If I get the impression that the
owners are going to break the players union, then I'm not going
to sit idly by."  In a statement, Selig responded to Hatch's
comments:  "I'm disappointed that Sen. Hatch made such
inflammatory remarks at this critical stage" of the negotiations
(ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 12/21)....The Blue Jays have not decided
when to put tickets for the '95 season on sale.  Jays
spokesperson Mark Leno said the team will wait and see what
happens with the strike before asking for season ticket renewals
(TORONTO STAR, 12/21).

     Following yesterday's meeting of 26 player reps in Toronto,
the NHLPA expects as many as 200 players to convene for a
briefing on the state of talks with the league.  "The morning
line is that today's meeting will not be a stormy affair," writes
Bob McKenzie of the TORONTO STAR.  "If the players are as like-
minded on the issues as we've been led to believe it will turn
into a rally" (TORONTO STAR, 12/21).  NHLPA spokesperson Steve
McAllister:  "There'll be an update on negotiations, but there
won't be a vote.  There's really nothing to vote on" (Toronto
GLOBE & MAIL, 12/21).  NHLPA Exec Dir Bob Goodenow "said the only
vote would be the ratification vote after all the cards are on
the table and the final offer is made" (Lance Hornby, TORONTO
SUN, 12/21).  After yesterday's meeting, the player reps were
adamant in their public opposition to a tax.  The Penguins' Larry
Murphy:  "If they insist on the tax, it'll kill the year.  So,
really, it's up to Gary Bettman whether he wants to shut the
season down or not" (Paul Hunter, TORONTO STAR, 12/21).     THE
PLAYERS' CHOICE:  According to Roy Cummings in this morning's
TAMPA TRIBUNE, Goodenow will inform the players that they
"miscalculated" regarding the owners' resolve and have only two
options to save the season:  1)  Make major concessions on
arbitration to convince owners to drop their luxury tax.  The
players would probably have to agree to non-binding arbitration
after five years.  2)  Accept and negotiate a tax and "fight for
the status quo in salary arbitration."  Notes Cummings, "This may
be their best option. ... There will no doubt be plenty of
support for [standing firm and losing the season] from the
players, but the bet around NHL circles is that Goodenow will
talk his players out of it" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 12/21).  In New York,
Mark Everson writes, "In order to avoid a tax, it appears the
players may have to give up almost everything else they've gained
in the past 20 years" (N.Y. POST, 12/21).
     ON THE OWNERS' SIDE:  The CANADIAN PRESS is reporting that
sources say the owners have two proposals on the table -- one
with a tax and one without (VANCOUVER SUN, 12/21).  In Toronto,
Paul Hunter reports sources say there was "serious talk among
some owners Monday centering around presenting an offer without
the tax.  However, the word on the management grapevine yesterday
was the tax is still very much on the table and will remain
there.  The only way that it will be removed is if the players
drop all demands for salary arbitration and extended free
agency."  Adds Hunter, "That won't happen" (TORONTO STAR, 12/21).
     NEWS & NOTES:  Red Wings Owner Mike Ilitch, to a Detroit
radio station earlier this week:  "Why not just come right out
and say 'cap' now?  I mean, it's a cap.  That's what we're after
here.  They're using other fancy terms, but that's what it boils
down to" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/21)....The AHL is facing its own labor
problems.  In yesterday's editions of Quebec's LE SOLEIL, one AHL
player said that talk of a pre-playoffs walkout is growing.  AHL
players have been without a contract since August (AP/TORONTO
STAR, 12/21).... Canucks President Pat Quinn suggested the NHL
season might be shortened to 40 games (TORONTO SUN,
12/21)....Capitals center Dave Poulin came away from a phone
conversation with Goodenow confident there will be a deal after
Christmas.  But Bruins GM Harry Sinden said:  "There isn't a
damned thing to agree on" (Joe Gordon, BOSTON HERALD, 12/21).

     The State of Connecticut is expected to announce today that
the WTA Tour Players Association is moving its headquarters to
Stamford, CT, in February.  Officials of the WTA Tour, which has
been headquartered in St. Petersburg, FL since '90, said CT
offers a "better business environment."  The Tour will continue
to maintain some offices in St. Petersburg.  WTA Tour
spokesperson Toni Woods said the move is part of an effort to
restructure the WTA Tour through a merger with the Women's Tennis
Council.  Woods: "Because of this integration, we're streamlining
the tour.  It's more like the NFL now.  There's never really been
a league office in women's professional tennis.  This makes it
easier" (Roberto Gonzalez, HARTFORD COURANT, 12/21).