BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 190: CHIN MUSIC FOR DYKSTRA
Lenny Dykstra went before 260 of his fellow union members to
address the comments he made last week disapproving of the
union's stance and hinting that he might cross a picket line.
According to Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore SUN, "He expressed
his doubts and asked his questions and then generally submitted
to the will" of the MLBPA membership in attendance (Baltimore
SUN, 2/17). Some MLBPA members "hammered him during the meeting,
they said, not for the views he had expressed but because he
spoke without being informed on the issues he spoke about"
(Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 2/17). On ESPN's "Up Close," Dykstra
claimed he had been contacted by 20 other "premier" players who
wanted to meet with union leaders to force a settlement. Frank
Fitzpatrick writes, "There is now widespread belief, among
players and agents, that no such conversations ever took place"
(PHILA. INQUIRER, 2/17).
OTHER REAX: "One agent said the union hierarchy was less
interested in changing Dykstra's mind than it was in having
Dykstra's arguments picked apart in front of the other players"
(Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 2/17). "By the time Lenny Dykstra
stood before his peers, he had been chastised and ridiculed into
submission" (Bob Nightengale, L.A. TIMES, 2/17). "If there were
dissenters in Thursday's group, they apparently kept quiet" (John
Lowe, DETROIT FREE PRESS, 2/17). One player accused Dykstra of
having the "backbone of a nerfball" for leaving later through a
rear exit (Bob Elliott, TORONTO SUN, 2/17). Andy Van Slyke: "It
was like a Christian going into the lion's den and 400 lions with
fangs sticking out who haven't eaten in five hours" (Mult.,
2/17). In New York, Tom Keegan writes the union was "so
confident" of its members' unity that "they roped off the area
within hearing range of the ballroom and posted a palace sentry
out front" (N.Y. POST, 2/17). Brett Butler, on what he said to
Dykstra: "Lenny, you set us back two or three weeks. It
irritates me, if you want to be involved, if you want to know the
issues, then you get your butt on a plane" ("SportsCenter," ESPN,
FEHR SAYS NLRB DECISION WOULD END STRIKE: MLBPA Exec Dir
Don Fehr said for the first time that if the NLRB rules that it
will seek an injunction to restore the old system, the players
would end their strike. But Jayson Stark notes that the owners
"are likely to respond to such a ruling by locking players out"
(PHILA. INQUIRER, 2/17). CNN's Jim Huber reported the players'
other list of conditions necessary for their return: a new CBA;
owners accept arbitration; one year of fact-finding followed by
bargaining; passage of Hatch-Moynihan bill; or a return to the
previous economic system ("Sports Tonight," CNN, 2/16).
POLITICS, POLITICS: The White House announced that
President Clinton will not throw out the first pitch of any game
played by replacement players (Mult., 2/17)....The American
Federation of Teachers called on its membership to boycott all
replacement baseball games (AFT).
ON THE TUBE: CNBC's "Sports View" profiled the situation on
the first day of spring training for the first team to report --
the Yankees. Sports finance attorney Lawrence Swift: "The
pessimist scenario is that replacement players will be hired and
baseball, at least for the time being will go on being played in
that fashion" (CNBC, 2/16). The "CBS Evening News" profiled the
Dodgers' return to Vero Beach with replacement players, including
the economic impact on people in the area (CBS, 2/16). ABC's
"World News Tonight" gave an overview of the baseball situation
as the seventh story of its newscast (ABC, 2/16). The "NBC
Nightly News" ran a photo of replacement Yankees trotting onto
the practice field as their "Picture of the Day," but did not
have a complete story (NBC, 2/16).