BALTIMORE -- PLAYERS, MANAGEMENT UNITED: Orioles Pitcher
Jim Poole and team VP of Business & Finance Joe Foss both
testified before a state senate panel in support of a bill to
prevent replacement players from being allowed to play at Camden
Yards (Brad Snyder, Baltimore SUN, 2/17).
CHICAGO -- ST. PADDY'S DAY PARADE? White Sox GM Ron
Schueler predicted that some striking players will defect in
early-to mid-March: "St. Paddy's Day (March 17), I think you're
going to see some guys in camps." Schueler cited the Sox's 83%
season-ticket renewal rate as proof the fans will accept
replacement players: "South Side people can relate a lot more to
30 guys making $115,000 than the guys making $7 million. Hey,
for two months, they might have some new heroes" (Paul Sullivan,
CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/17). But an early look at a TRIBUNE poll,
which will be released in full on Sunday (400 people surveyed
Feb. 10-13), reveals that "nearly half" say they will ignore
replacement baseball, but more than half would be open to
attending replacement games at cheaper prices; fans support the
salary cap by a 2-to-1 margin; 52% think President Clinton erred
by getting involved (Andrew Bagnato, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/17).
CINCINNATI -- REDS RETORT: Acting MLB Commissioner Bud
Selig "backed down" from a statement made before a Senate
hearing that all season-ticket holders would be eligible for
refunds for replacement games. The Reds, the only team that will
not lower ticket prices for replacement games, took issue causing
MLB spokesperson Rich Levin to state: "Teams have their own
individual policies. There is no major league policy" (Erardi &
Haft, CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 2/17).
DETROIT -- SPARKY WON'T SHOW: Tigers Manager Sparky
Anderson "has told the Tigers that he plans to boycott the
opening of their spring training camp because he doesn't want to
work with replacement players," according to this morning's
DETROIT FREE PRESS. According to sources, the Tigers "are trying
to change Anderson's mind," but chances are "less than 50-50" he
will be on the field today (Gene Guidi, DETROIT FREE PRESS,
2/17). Today's DETROIT NEWS is reporting that Anderson was
granted a "leave of absence" (DETROIT NEWS, 2/17). Tigers GM Joe
Klein said he has talked to ten of his players who will cross the
line. Klein did not identify the players (DETROIT NEWS, 2/16).
LOS ANGELES -- ZERO BEACH: "The first litmus test of public
acceptance of the replacement concept fizzled badly for the
Dodgers on Thursday." The team's charter, usually greeted by
400-500 fans, was welcomed by a "scant 18" at Vero Beach airport
(Ken Daley, L.A. DAILY NEWS, 2/17).
NEW YORK -- ALL EYES ON THE BOSS: Yankees Owner George
Steinbrenner was the center of attention as the Yankees opened
camp yesterday. Steinbrenner: "To try and tell you it's going to
be like an all-star team, I can't do that. And I won't do that"
(ESPN, 2/16). Steinbrenner: "I think there are people who
appreciate what we're trying to do. We're trying to give them a
product" (Jeff Bradley, N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/17). Steinbrenner
presence was "intended to make him the story of the day. His
strategy was shrewd and worked for over an hour" (Jack Curry,
N.Y. TIMES, 2/17). ESPN's Peter Gammons said the Yankees players
"look like extras from 'Fear Strikes Out'" (ESPN, 2/16).
PHILADELPHIA -- FEHR STRIKES OUT? Frank Dolson writes, "By
now, for all his brave talk, for all the good answers he gives to
the most probing of questions, [MLBPA Exec Dir Don Fehr] must
realize his mistake. He must know this is one time the players
cannot, will not be able to claim total victory, or anything
close to it" (PHILA. INQUIRER, 2/17).
SAN FRANCISCO -- WHITEHURST DENIES REPORT: Wally Whitehurst
denied an AP and ESPN report that he will be the first major
leaguer to cross the picket line. Whitehurst agreed to a Triple-
A contract with the Giants and will not play in exhibition games
until the strike ends (Mark Gonzales, SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS,
ST. LOUIS -- CARDS EXTEND DEADLINE: The Cardinals sent a
letter to season-ticket holders extending the renewal deadline
from March 1 to March 10. Even at that date, only 75% payment
will be due (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 2/17). Cards Manager Joe
Torre, who was a league and team player rep, asked how he would
have reacted if President Nixon had intervened in a strike when
he was playing: "We weren't that important at the time. We were
ballplayers; now they're celebrities" (Bill Chastain, TAMPA
TORONTO -- JAYS TIX STILL HOT: Jays Dir of Operations
George Holm said the club will reach its "cutoff point" of 26,000
season tickets. Holm: "People don't want to give them up
because they might lose their seats. In fact, the ratio has been
about 15-1 of calls that say they want better or more seats"
(Mike Zeisberger, TORONTO SUN, 2/17).