BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- PART II: HOW THE PLAYERS SEE IT
MLBPA Exec Dir Don Fehr was interviewed on "Baseball
Tonight." On the players' position: "We're not in a bad
position to bargain now, the owners don't have the deal they want
either." On rumors of players crossing: "I've never been
concerned that players would cross in significant numbers, I'm
not concerned now. If they owners believe that they will, then
there won't be a deal, and only the passage of time can prove
them otherwise. In any other situation, if you would have
demonstrated the kind of solidarity that the players have
demonstrated over this period of time, people would look around
and wonder. But seemingly, if we don't have 110 percent, we're
in trouble. That just isn't so." Asked to clarify "significant
numbers": "You've got 1,100 people out there, you can't account
for everyone's behavior every minute of every day" (ESPN, 3/23).
FIRST TO CROSS? Yankees pitcher Steve Howe told the N.Y.
DAILY NEWS that he is thinking about crossing the line for
"personal and philosophical reasons." Howe: "Any guy who has
told you that he has not thought about going back to work --
'crossing' is a bad word -- is lying. Bottom line" (Jeff
Bradley, N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/24).
BARNSTORMING TOUR SPUTTERS AGAIN: ESPN's Karl Ravech
reported that the city of Homestead, FL has rejected plans for
the players to train for their planned "barnstorming" tour at the
city-owned facility ("Baseball Tonight," 3/23). Some on the
players side accuse the owners of pressuring Homestead and other
AZ communities against hosting the players saying that doing so
would harm the cities' chances of becoming spring training sites.
The N.Y. TIMES reports that Capital Sports of Stamford, CT, a
company that represents Reebok -- which planned at one time to
sponsor of the tour -- had reached agreement with Homestead on
behalf of the players. But Homestead City Manager Will Rudd
wrote to Capital Sports this week that they would be "unable to
complete negotiations" (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 3/24).
END THE STRIKE: USA TODAY's Hal Bodley examines the
rationale under which the players might return without an
agreement (which he admits is a "long shot"): 1) They could play
and get paid while legal action continues; 2) To prevent large
numbers of players from breaking ranks; 3) To head off greater
financial losses. According to Bodley, the owners are "unlikely"
to vote for a lockout. Fehr on ending the strike: "Is it within
the realm of all possible things? Yes." Fehr also said the
union would consider a no-strike pledge for the '95 season (USA