WILL REGULAR UMPS BE THERE TO CALL "PLAY BALL"?
Robert Kheel, the lead management negotiator in labor talks
with locked out umpires, said "he expects the two sides to inch
closer toward a deal within the next day or so," according to
today's WASHINGTON POST. But Kheel, who exchanged proposals
yesterday with MLBUA General Counsel Richie Phillips, is unsure
whether a deal can be done to have the umpires ready for Opening
Day. Terms of the new proposals were not disclosed. Kheel also
said that umpires will not be allowed to return without a new CBA
unless they take a no-strike pledge (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST,
4/20). Phillips said they will not offer such a pledge "under
any circumstances" (Hal Bodley, USA TODAY, 4/20). Phillips, on
management's proposal: "I'd have to characterize [it] as an
offer that was intended to stimulate negotiations." But A
management source "said there had been less progress than
Phillips indicated" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 4/20).