Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

What's on the Agenda for Owners Meetings

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

What's on the Agenda for Owners Meetings

Article excerpt

A glance at the key topics and proposals to be discussed at the major-league owners meetings this week:

Where: Kohler, Wis.

When: today through Friday

Participants: The 28 major-league owners, their representatives and lawyers

Key Issue: Richard Ravitch, president of management's Player Relations Committee, will put a revenue-sharing plan on the table that will be tied to a salary cap, which the Major League Baseball Players Association is unlikely to agree to without a work stoppagep. Owners want the cap on salaries in exchange for designating a percentage of gross revenue for players. It would copy the NBA plan, which designates 53 percent of defined gross revenue for the players.

The higher the salary cap, the higher a percentage of local revenue will be needed.

Process: Approval requires 21 of the 28 clubs voting for the proposal. Not even that is a simple matter, however. Those believed opposed to revenue sharing are the Yankees, the New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers, Toronto Blue Jays, Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs. Even if the plan passes, teams voting against it might sue to stop it.

Impact: Unclear. Owners voted last Dec. 9 to reopen provisions of the collective bargaining agreement relating to free agency, salary arbitration and the minimum salary of $109,000. If bargaining reaches an impasse after Jan. 1, they may impose new work rules, which almost certainly would trigger a strike. There haven't been any face-to-face negotiations since Jan. 25.

Problems: Donald Fehr, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, talked last month of a possible walkout by the union in September, two months before owners receive about $250 million of postseason television income from CBS. However, by striking, the players would allow owners to impose new work rules before Dec. 31, jeopardizing free agency this fall.

Who Gets What Now: At the top, the Yankees have a $486 million, 12-year contract with the Madison Square Garden Network. At the bottom, the Minnesota Twins generate about $4 million a year in local broadcast income, and the San Diego Padres say they net about $6 million a year.

Owners already have committed about $530 million to approximately 200 players for next year, so a salary cap, if agreed to, would have to be phased in gradually. …

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