BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 215: NLRB CALLS TIME-OUT
NLRB General Counsel Fred Feinstein "is expected to announce
today that he is issuing a complaint against baseball's owners
for unfair labor practice and will seek an injunction that would
compel the owners to reinstate the terms and conditions of the
old labor agreement with the players," writes Ross Newhan of the
L.A. TIMES. The NLRB action means a postponement in talks.
While MLBPA Exec Dir Don Fehr said he believed they could resume
Wednesday, management representatives claimed it would time to
reassess the NLRB's decision. Should Feinstein get the NLRB's
approval to pursue an injunction, both sides could be in U.S.
District Court in Manhattan "within two weeks." The players have
said that if they receive an injunction, they would end the
strike -- thus leading to a possible lockout by ownership. Red
Sox CEO John Harrington said a lockout would depend on "options
open to us at the time": "There are some scenarios where there
wouldn't be a lockout and a whole lot of scenarios where there
would be" (L.A. TIMES, 3/14). O'Connor said it was
"unbelievable" talks would be held up (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON
WHERE THINGS STOOD: The union staff plans to meet with
"high-profile" players tonight and maybe tomorrow in Orlando.
"The players continue to put up a bold front, but their
negotiating position appears to be deteriorating" (Peter Schmuck,
Baltimore SUN, 3/14). Several agents denied that an increasing
number of players and agents were pressuring Fehr to make a deal.
One agent said the union has been listening to "suggestions."
Sources said the player meetings will also deal with the status
of a proposed barnstorming tour. Jayson Stark reports that
Reebok, the original sponsor, "has backed off. But the union may
have found a way to keep the possibility of the tour alive"
(PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 3/14). On Monday, the owners "apparently
thought they were in a good position" until word of the NLRB
announcement. "A negotiating team was in place and owners seemed
confident they could make a deal on their terms" (Larry
Whiteside, BOSTON GLOBE, 3/14).
HAD ENOUGH? Phillies President Bill Giles expressed his
frustration with the latest delay: "I may get dramatic on my
own. I'm just fed up. This is killing me. I've been thinking
about a lot of things. I'll see what happens in the next few
days. But if things are not straightened out over the next two
or three days, I may try something that involves just our team.
It may not work. But I've got to try something" (Jayson Stark,
PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 3/14).
NEWS & NOTES: Seattle attorney Steve Berman, "known for
filing high-profile class-action suits and wringing substantial
settlements from defendants without going to trial," filed suit
in U.S. District Court in Seattle on behalf of fans, season-
ticket holders and affected businesses as a challenge to
baseball's antitrust exemption (SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER,
3/14)....Mets GM Joe McIlvane said he believes players will begin
to cross if the next round of talks collapse (N.Y. POST,
3/14)....A recent NBC/ Wall Street Journal Poll found that the
number of people who consider themselves baseball fans has
slipped from 55% in July '94 to 41% in March '95 (NBC/WSJ
Poll)....CBS Money Editor John Stehr examined the impact of
replacement ball on spring training towns ("CBS This Morning,"