Striking Blue Jays are considering the idea of holding
spring training in Dunedin, FL, next month to coincide with the
replacement camp. Player Rep Ed Sprague: "We'd like to take as
much attention away from the replacement camp as we can" (Tim
Harper, TORONTO STAR, 1/25).
OTHER TEAM NOTES: In Kansas City, Dick Kaegel explains how
the new free agency system will not help the Royals: "The Royals'
priority now is reducing their payroll to between $30 million and
$32 million, and making the franchise attractive enough for CEO
David Glass or someone else to buy and keep [the team] in Kansas
City" (K.C. STAR, 1/25).... The Mariners will play eight games in
Vancouver's B.C. Place domed stadium this year -- if labor laws
permit replacement players to cross the border. Warren Buckley,
president of B.C. Pavilion Corporation, which operates B.C.
Place, says bringing replacement baseball to Vancouver may be
risky: "Is this the best way to start a relationship in a new
city? Our fans want to see (Mariners Outfielder) Jay Buhner, not
Clint Smith who played Double A in Oklahoma City." If the
situation cannot be worked out for '95, both sides are discussing
arrangements for '96 (Terry Bell, Vancouver PROVINCE, 1/25)....On
ESPN last night, Peter Gammons examined the effects of the cap.
Red Sox GM Dan Duquette predicts stars will take a "lion's share"
of money leaving no room for a "middle class" ("SportsCenter,"
CBA Commissioner Tom Valdiserri told the HARTFORD COURANT he
hopes the league can keep the "financially crippled" Hellcats in
Hartford. Valdiserri made his comments to Owen Canfield of the
COURANT, who writes the attendance of 10,039 for Tuesday's CBA
All-Star Game shows that Hartford "is a basketball area."
Valdiserri said the Hartford Sports & Entertainment Group and the
Connecticut Development Authority are "entertaining offers for
the purchase of the club." Valdiserri: "Will the team move if
the league has to take it over? Not necessarily. We'll do
everything we can to keep it here. What we have to do is put
together an operating budget and see if the team can be run at a
profit" (Owen Canfield, HARTFORD COURANT, 1/25).
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in New York that
antitrust laws cannot be used to stop "NBA owners or other
employers from imposing work rules while a collective bargaining
relationship exists." The ruling was praised by MLB's leadership
as a clear sign that the removal of the league's antitrust
exemption would have no effect on their ability to impose a
salary cap. The MLBPA has "insisted" that team owners were able
to implement their salary cap because of the exemption. The 2nd
circuit agreed with the findings of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals in Powell vs. NFL. While other circuit courts are not
bound by the decision, "the ruling could set a precedent and
could force the [MLBPA] to decertify if players want to mount an
antitrust challenge" (I.J. Rosenberg, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION,
1/25). The court ruled that it never thought "anyone would argue
that antitrust laws could be used 'to subvert fundamental
principles of our federal labor policy'" (Parascandola & Kerber,
N.Y. POST, 1/25).
REACTIONS FROM MLB AND NBA: Braves/Hawks President Stan
Kasten was "ecstatic": "It makes it clear how foolish it is for
the [MLBPA] to continue to press the case in Congress and the
courts. Even if we didn't have an exemption, it wouldn't matter"
(ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 1/25). Acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig:
"The clubs are hopeful that the union will now abandon its
activities in Congress and return to the bargaining table" (MLB).
Officials from the NBPA said the decision might be appealed to
the full 2nd Circuit. NBA Commissioner David Stern "hailed" the
decision (N.Y. TIMES, 1/25). The decision means the NBA and the
NBPA "must now resolve their differences in collective
bargaining" (N.Y. POST, 1/25).
In the January 30 issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, which hits
the stands today, NBA-beat writer Phil Taylor takes on the NBA's
"Bad Actors" -- the "pouting prima donnas" whose actions are
"threatening to infect every team in the league." Nets guard Rex
Walters: "We've got one millionaire who won't tie a 10-cent pair
of shoelaces when the coach tells him to, to an even richer
millionaire who complains he doesn't want to wear a tie on a
plane." In his piece, Taylor warns, "Don't look around the
league, because you won't like what you see. The NBA has more
whiny youngsters than a day-care center at nap time." Knicks
coach Pat Riley says the "self-centered, greed-oriented, defiant
attitude" is "so rampant it is going to bring down the league one
day." NBA Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik, although less
"troubled by the misbehavior," did say, "It would be foolish to
say we don't have any concern about it."
WHAT'S BEHIND IT? Taylor outlines examples and possible
explanations for the current state of the game. For the players,
the "lucrative" guaranteed contracts "can profoundly warp their
view of life in the league," making them more important and less
expendable than their head coach. The immediate pressures to
preform and turn around sagging franchises. In this area,
longtime veteran Danny Ainge blames expansion, arguing had it not
been for the new teams, young stars would "be going to teams that
are already established and you could give them more time to
mature." Taylor writes "many believe that the league's
discipline problems mirror those of society" while others "blame
the league's marketing strategy for encouraging selfishness."
Pacers coach Larry Brown: "The bottom line is that this is the
greatest team game going, and we're doing everything in our power
-- from the rules to the publicity to the image we're creating --
to make it an individual sport. There's very little talk about
team. We don't sell that. We try to establish stars, and this
(prima donna syndrome) is what you get." Bulls guard Steve
Kerr: "It used to be, 'Wow, did you see that Lakers-Celtics
game?' Now it's more like, 'Did you see the latest video game or
commercial?' They've created a different image than what started
this whole boom" (SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, 1/30 issue).
STERN RESPONDS: Commissioner David Stern was not quoted in
the piece, but responds this weekend on the SITV-produced "From
the Pages of Sports Illustrated" on ABC's "Wide World of Sports."
Stern says the media is a source of some of the problem: "There
are always a half-dozen players out of 350 who have a particular
thing going on. But those (players) also happen to be the
lighting rod for the media." Stern noted Hakeem Olajuwon, Pat
Ewing and John Stockton as positive examples (SPORTS