Sports Shorts End Baseball Strike or Else, Senator Says

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Congress could settle the baseball strike with legislation if players and owners don't resolve it soon, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said Tuesday.

The chairman, Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has pressed for a review of the owners' antitrust exemption. Hatch said during an interview that he wanted a settlement soon. President Bill Clinton has set a deadline of next Monday for progress in the talks and said he would ask mediator W.J. Usery to recommend a solution if negotiators fail to come up with one.

"I had felt it would take until the summer and we would have to lose some games for Congress to get involved," Hatch said. "With the president's help, we could do it very quickly."

Three years ago, President George Bush asked Congress to pass a law to end a railroad strike, and the House and Senate complied. Management negotiator Chuck O'Connor said he fears lawmakers may end the baseball dispute in a similar manner.

Meanwhile, the executive board of the players' union made several decisions:

extend the freeze on signing major-league contracts that began Dec. 23 when owners imposed their salary cap system. Some of the 38 restricted free agents have tentative deals, including moves by Marquis Grissom and Ken Hill to Florida, but they could fall apart because of the ban.

advise all players on expanded 40-man rosters not to report to spring training.

ask minor leaguers who attend spring camp not play in major-league exhibition games.

In addition, union head Donald Fehr emphasized that licensing money for managers, coaches and trainers - about $75,000 each - would not be withheld from them if they worked with replacements.

***** FOOTBALL Super Bowl Ratings Have An Off Year

The San Francisco 49ers' rout of the San Diego Chargers drew one of the smallest television audiences in Super Bowl history, ratings show.

The 49ers' 49-26 victory Sunday, carried by ABC, registered a national rating of 41.3 and a 63 share, according to figures from A.C. Neilsen Media Research. Of the 29 Super Bowls, only seven have drawn lower numbers.

Each ratings point represents 954,000 television households. Ratings measure the percentage of those households tuned to a particular program, while shares measure the percentage of TV sets in use that are watching a show.

Jack Pardee re-entered pro football as coach of the new Canadian Football League team in Birmingham, Ala. Pardee, with 10 1/2 seasons as a head coach in the National Football League, admitted he wasn't an expert on the Canadian game. But his experience with the run-and-shoot offense should help in the pass-happy CFL. …