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Volume 24 No. 117

Leagues Governing Bodies

     One week before Opening Day, the NLRB "authorized its
general counsel to seek an injunction in Federal court that could
send striking players back to work as early as this week."
Daniel Silverman, director of the NLRB's New York office, said he
would initiate the effort in U.S. District Court in Manhattan
today "and would ask the judge, once one is assigned, to handle
the case expeditiously."  While the players have made it clear
they would return if such an injunction is obtained, it is "not
clear" whether the owners would subsequently vote to lock them
out.  "And in a related development, the two sides in the dispute
agreed to meet tonight in Manhattan to resume negotiations for
the first time since March 4" (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 3/27).
The story led ABC's Sunday "World News Tonight" (ABC, 3/26).
     REAX:  MLBPA General Counsel Gene Orza:  "I'm never
surprised when something we say is upheld by a third party" (Ross
Newhan, L.A. TIMES, 3/27).  Braves President Stan Kasten:  "I
have utter confidence in our case, unfortunately that would take
a long time to get to" (I.J. Rosenberg, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION,
3/27).  Rangers President Tom Schieffer:  "What we have here is
something that just prolongs the process.  The NLRB is not a body
that resolves things" (Simon Gonzalez, FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM,
3/27).  "The best case scenario for the union is that there could
be a hearing on the matter by Wednesday, and a ruling by Friday"
(Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 3/27).  ESPN's Peter Gammons, on a
pre-Opening day injunction:  "There's no guarantee, because of
the unusual nature of this case, that [the players] are actually
going to get the injunction.  If they do, the players will offer
to come back, the owners will then vote 23-5 or 22-6 to lockout.
Unless there's a settlement this week, we're going on into
replacement ball next weekend."  Gammons said the owners don't
view the NLRB ruling as "important," adding, "If the players
really do, then these negotiations are just going to be
distracted and not go anywhere" ("Baseball Tonight," ESPN, 3/26).
     TO LOCKOUT, OR NOT TO LOCKOUT:  Several reports note that
the owners might not be able to get the 21 votes necessary for a
lockout.  One AL owner predicts six teams would vote "No" --
Dodgers, Yankees, Mets, Blue Jays, Orioles and Padres -- with the
Indians, Tigers and Rangers leaning that way (Ross Newhan, L.A.
TIMES, 3/27).  In Philadelphia, Jayson Stark noted "major doubt
among baseball people" that the owners would vote pro-lockout.
But the nature of the ruling, the timing and whether the players
return with a no-strike pledge are all factors (PHILADELPHIA
INQUIRER, 3/27).   The latest BUSINESS WEEK outlines the owners'
risk:  "If the NLRB finds the lockout illegal, the league could
be on the hook for players' salaries totaling some $1 billion for
the season.  That amount could be tripled if the lockout was also
found to have violated the old contract's anticollusion clause"
(Aaron Bernstein, BUSINESS WEEK, 4/3 issue).  In Washington, Mark
Maske notes that "ownership moderates will try to convince hard-
liners they're in a precarious position" by risking that much
(WASHINGTON POST, 3/27).  In New York, Murray Chass adds, if the
players stay out, "they may prefer a lockout to a strike at this
juncture, partly for public relations purposes and partly to keep
any players from being tempted to break ranks and return to work"
(N.Y. TIMES, 3/27).

     The owners could submit a formal proposal to the players
when meetings resume tonight, according to the L.A. TIMES.  The
key points, according to a top management official:  Arbitration
for players with three years of experience, restricted free
agency for four and five-year players, unrestricted after six, a
40% tax on payrolls over $40M (Bob Nightengale, L.A. TIMES,
3/25).  But ESPN's Peter Gammons cited Red Sox CEO John
Harrington, who said the owners "will not present a new proposal.
They will present some new ideas, and maybe some things that will
bring the players closer."  But Gammons added:  "I really don't
think that there's any way that they're going to come any closer"
("Baseball Tonight," ESPN, 3/26).
     FOR GOD'S SAKE, DON'T DRINK THE KOOL-AID!  White Sox Chair
Jerry Reinsdorf compared Fehr to cult leader Jim Jones.
Reinsdorf, who recommended the players hire an "independent third
person" to evaluate offers from both sides:  "Don't believe the
owners, but for God's sake, this isn't Guyana.  Don't believe the
guy that's misleading you" (Paul Sullivan, CHICAGO TRIBUNE,
3/26).  ESPN's Keith Olbermann:  "No truth to the rumors that
Fehr will reply by comparing Jerry Reinsdorf to the worst person
he could think of -- Jerry Reinsdorf" ("SportsCenter," 3/26).
     WASHINGTON WEEK IN REVIEW:  President Clinton was
interviewed over the weekend by ESPN Radio.  Clinton on the
baseball strike:  "If it becomes so painfully clear that it is no
longer a sport and it's just a business, then the customers may
decide to take their business elsewhere. ... It could become a
community sport again -- almost the way soccer is, if they don't
fix it" (ESPN Radio, 3/25).  Citing what he claims are
conflicting statements from acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig,
Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy plans to reintroduce legislation
today with Republicans Orrin Hatch and Strom Thurmond to
partially repeal MLB's antitrust exemption (Murray Chass, N.Y.
TIMES, 3/25).  Speaker Newt Gingrich predicted hearings on the
issue, "once we're past the labor-management fight" ("Larry King
Live," CNN, 3/24).
     THE WINNER, AND NEW CHAMPION?  Two baseball writers give the
owners the nod thus far in negotiations.  In Denver, Tracy
Ringolsby writes, "The owners have finally stayed together, and
the union has failed to adapt" (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 3/26).  In
L.A., Ross Newhan writes, "No matter how a negotiated settlement
plays out, the owners would finally win one" -- but, that is if
they can:  1) "disentangle" from the Reinsdorf-led effort to
break the union; 2) convince Selig "to act like the commissioner
many are convinced he wants to become"; 3) compromise on the tax
-- 35% at $47M is suggested; and, 4) include a three-year
reopener on the tax, unrestricted free agency for 4+ players and
right-of-first refusal for three (L.A. TIMES, 3/26).
     OTHER STRIKING THOUGHTS:  An AP poll (403 self-identified
baseball fans surveyed March 15-19) found 34% saying they would
attend fewer games if replacement players are used, and 38%
saying they would watch fewer games on TV (Mult, 3/25)....MLBPA
counsel Lauren Rich:  "If there's not a settlement in the next
seven to 10 days, it will reopen an era of litigation that will
make collusion seems like child's play. ... This will degenerate
into a legal war that will take a very long time to play out and
(in) which the only winners will be football, basketball and
hockey (Ross Newhan, L.A. TIMES, 3/27)....ESPN's Karl Ravech
reported that spring training attendance per team is down from
89,000 last year to 20,200 this year.  Averages per game: 5,933
in '94, 2,020 in '95 ("Baseball Tonight," 3/26).

     Two days after NBA Commissioner David Stern publicly
criticized the BOSTON GLOBE and columnist Will McDonough for his
piece on the NBA drug policy, McDonough responded by reporting
that Stern "was just bowing to pressure" from Celtic officials.
McDonough claims Stern was met before Wednesday's ceremony
honoring Reggie Lewis by an angry Red Auerbach, who "whiplashed
Stern verbally" for past issues issues concerning Lewis' death,
and by Celtics Owner Paul Gaston, who criticized Stern for "not
standing up" to media reports alleging Lewis' drug use.  Later,
Stern held a press conference to denounce the GLOBE story and
defend the league's drug policy.  McDonough spoke to Stern on
Friday about the incident, and Stern said he wanted to show that
the GLOBE was "inaccurate and made my drug policy look bad when I
think it is the best."  McDonough noted marijuana is not
recognized as a drug by the NBA -- "maybe someone forgot to tell
Stern when he authored this drug policy, which he claims to be
the toughest he is aware of, that marijuana is illegal everywhere
but in the NBA."  Stern said he hoped "it can be included in the
next NBA policy."  McDonough's conclusion remains that the NBA's
policy is that "it does not want to catch its players. ... The
facts seem to be that Reggie Lewis used cocaine from his days at
Northeastern until his last Celtic game, and the great NBA
program did nothing to stop him, or ever slow him down."
McDonough's column included a comparison of drug policies of the
four major leagues (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/25).
     MEDIA INTROSPECTION:  More thoughts on the coverage of the
Lewis story.  In L.A., basketball writer Mark Heisler writes that
as the Celtics retired Lewis' number, "everyone railied at the
media, the timing, the snitches.  TV poofs like CNN's Fred
Hickman, uncomfortable with an actual story, asked plaintively,
'Why now?'  Heisler writes, "Why not now? Unbecoming as it is,
there is only a problem if the story is inaccurate" (L.A. TIMES,
3/26).  In Boston, sports media writer Jim Baker criticized NBA
broadcast partners TNT and NBC for not showing "the kind of zeal
they display" in showcasing Michael Jordan "when it comes to a
meaty issue like probing an NBA drug policy" (BOSTON HERALD,
3/24).
     UNION ISSUES:  NBPA Exec Dir Charles Grantham "takes issue"
with Suns Owner Jerry Colangelo for reinstating Richard Dumas,
only if Dumas agreed to submit to frequent testing by the club.
Grantham said this is technically a "violation of the [league]
agreement, and I would expect the league to fine any team not in
compliance with the agreement substantially" (Ailene Voisin,
ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 3/26).
The latest discussions on a new CBA "were not hopeful," according
to the BOSTON GLOBE's Jackie MacMullan.  Sources told MacMullan
the NBPA asked for 73% of the defined gross revenue in its last
proposal (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/26).

     The state of the LPGA was a hot topic this weekend, as the
Tour held its first major, the Dinah Shore Classic.  ABC's
coverage of the Dinah Shore is one of only seven tournaments
carried by network TV.  In Montreal, Pat Hickey writes, "If
you're a fan of women's golf and you can't understand why there
isn't more TV coverage, it's because there aren't more of you
fans" (Montreal GAZETTE, 3/25).  In San Jose, Marcus Hayes blames
the lack of coverage on the the popularity of the men's tours:
"Men own the airwaves" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 3/25).  In L.A.,
Thomas Bonk creidts outgoing LPGA Commissioner Charlie Mechem for
increasing the prize money from $17.1M to $24M and the number of
LPGA licensees from 20 to 29.  Candidates to succeed Mecham
include former Sprint exec Jack Frazee and Wilson Golf marketing
chief Jan Thompson ( L.A. TIMES, 3/26).
     GOLF "FORUM" SEEN AS A "SHOT" AT WORLD TOUR:  In Boston, Joe
Concannon writes that last week's World Golf Forum (see THE
DAILY, 3/23) "seemed to be a united shot at Greg Norman's
proposed tour."  Greg Norman defended his proposed Fox-sponsored
World Tour:  "Now that the smoke has cleared, a lot of good has
come out of it.  I have played in different parts of the world,
and there is a very supportive feeling for it" (BOSTON GLOBE,
3/26).