BASEBALL, PART II: NOW, ABOUT THAT LABOR SITUATION
MLBPA Exec Dir Don Fehr said in a memo distributed to
players yesterday that the owners' latest labor proposal "does
not appear to differ significantly from the owners' proposals of
March." According to Mark Maske of the WASHINGTON POST, it was a
signal "that the game's labor negotiations continue to go
nowhere." Fehr said in the memo that the union hopes to resume
talks "very soon, at the latest prior to the beginning of spring
training." Acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said he is
"confident" the coming season will not be interrupted (WASHINGTON
POST, 1/19). In New York, Murray Chass predicts a union counter-
proposal "early next month" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/19). In Chicago,
Jerome Holtzman predicts another midseason impasse and a return
to court. Holtzman foresees Fehr using interleague play -- and a
subsequent demand the DH be expanded to the NL -- as a bargaining
chip in overall labor talks (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/18). In Phila.,
Bill Conlin writes, "Two months to reply, informally, of course,
to a proposal Fehr says is unchanged from that of last March?"
(PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 1/19).
OTHER POST-MEETING NOTES: A report obtained by USA TODAY's
Hal Bodley shows that for the first time, the top five revenue-
producing teams also have the top payrolls. The difference in
average payroll between the top five teams and the bottom five is
$29,892,814 (USA TODAY, 1/19).