BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 152: CHECK FOR THE UNION LABEL
The MLBPA said Monday that it would "penalize any agent who
represents a replacement player." MLBPA General Counsel Gene
Orza: "What level of penalty is up to the [executive board].
Anything up to decertification is among the penalties at the
board's disposal" (Ross Newhan, L.A. TIMES, 1/10). The union is
acting just as clubs are beginning to call agents seeking players
to fill their rosters. Agent Craig Fenech: "I've had some clubs
ask me if I have any guys who want to come in as replacement
players. But I told them we're not in that business and we're
not going to be. ... The retired players whom I have spoken to
have no intention of doing it" (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 1/10).
Red Sox CEO John Harrington: "If the replacement players do have
agents, it could be a problem. But in all probability, the
replacement players won't have agents" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/10). The
union's penalties for agents will be announced today.
OTHER NEWS: Several of the GMs on the operations committee
that is shaping the rules for using replacements will meet today
with management lawyers in Chicago. Meanwhile, MLB attorney
Chuck O'Connor sent a letter to MLBPA Exec Dir Don Fehr saying
the clubs will "resist any effort to have unsigned players
declared free agents" (L.A. TIMES, 1/10). O'Connor: "The clubs
are quite confident ... that their implementation of revised
terms and conditions is entirely lawful. The legal grounds for
that implementation, of course, include the union's steadfast
refusal to bargain collectively over wages in violation of ...
the National Labor Relations Act" (AP/Toronto GLOBE & MAIL,
NOTHING TO FEHR: Fehr was in San Juan, PR, yesterday
meeting with Latin American players. While there, he "knocked
down rumors" that Latin players would break ranks and cross the
picket line. Blue Jay Juan Guzman: "I've been to every meeting
and I know the Latin players and we're still together.
Everybody's still together." Fehr's three stops have so far
drawn more player participation than his last tour in September,
1994. His next stop will be tomorrow in Phoenix (AP/PHILADELPHIA
MORE ON REPLACEMENTS: According to a USA TODAY survey, 39%
of minor league free agents said they would "definitely or
probably" sign on as replacement players. The survey projects
that 163 minor-leaguers could sign, filling 6 1/2 of the 28 MLB
team rosters. 700 replacement players are needed. Of the 125
minor-leaguers surveyed, 25 said they would definitely play, 24
would probably play, 28 were not sure, 20 would probably not and
28 definitely would not play (Mel Antonen, USA TODAY, 1/10).
ESPN's Keith Olbermann reported that the Blue Jays will be
holding replacement player camps in Southern CA this week