BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 187: OWNERS TO RE-IMPLEMENT?
The owners' Player Relations Committee announced that it
will begin offering contracts to unsigned players beginning
Friday, but only through negotiation with the MLBPA. Individual
teams and individual players will not be allowed to participate
in negotiations. In Baltimore, Peter Schmuck writes, "What does
this mean? Only that there will be no such collective
negotiations, because the union is too busy challenging the whole
mess" through the NLRB (Baltimore SUN, 2/14). The owners also
will not allow players to submit to salary arbitration. Owners
say they do not have to go forward with arbitration because it is
not a "mandatory subject of bargaining" under the National Labor
Relations Act. AP's Ronald Blum notes, "Some on the players'
side think owners may try to re-implement using their proposal
that called for a luxury tax on the amount of payrolls" above
$35M. MLBPA General Counsel Gene Orza: "I have no doubt they
want to, that they're looking for the right opportunity" (OTTAWA
LONELY LENNY: Red Sox pitcher Roger Clemens on Lenny
Dykstra's comments of last week: "It just disappoints me when
some guy, especially when he's a veteran, sits back and pops off
when he doesn't have any idea what's going on" ("Sports Tonight,"
CNN, 2/13). Braves pitcher Greg Maddux, on Dykstra: "He's going
to have to play with the team. We all feel like we're on the
same team and in this together. When someone has a different
opinion, it's a little upsetting" (AP/VANCOUVER SUN, 2/14).
Rockies Player Rep Joe Giraldi: "Lenny has some pressures that
none of us will ever understand, and I think they are financial
pressures, and I think that is what's driving Lenny." In Denver,
Norm Clarke writes, "Giraldi did not elaborate, but he might have
been pointing at Dykstra's past problems with gambling" (ROCKY
MOUNTAIN NEWS, 2/13). Red Sox OF Mike Greenwell was asked about
both Dykstra's comments and those of teammate Mo Vaughn, who
called for a secret ballot to validate the strike: "I've never
seen Lenny Dykstra at a meeting and I've never seen Mo Vaughn at
a meeting. ... The union invites guys to call and complain, but
it doesn't do any good to complain in the media" (BOSTON GLOBE,
2/13). MLBPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr said Dykstra will attend the
players meeting in Orlando this week (WASHINGTON POST, 2/14).
TODAY'S HAPPENINGS: Senate Judiciary Chair Orrin Hatch and
Sen. Pat Moynihan introduce a bill today that would repeal
baseball's antitrust exemption as it applies to labor matters.
The bill excludes the minor leagues and would not affect MLB's
ability to control franchise relocation. Hatch is expected to be
able get the bill to the Senate floor for a vote. But,
"prospects in the House are weaker" (Mike Dodd, USA TODAY, 2/14).
MLBPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr meets with Special Mediator William
Usery today in Washington.