Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Al Owner: `Players Are Going to Get Killed' on Contract

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Al Owner: `Players Are Going to Get Killed' on Contract

Article excerpt

More bad news ahead for the striking major-league baseball players. The club owners are about to yank what they insist was a $1 billion player salary aggregate proposal off the bargaining table and reduce it 40 percent - somewhere in the neighborhood of $600 million.

"Sure, we're getting hurt, but the players are going to get killed," an American League owner confessed Monday on the condition of anonymity.

This latest financial bombshell is expected to be delivered late this week or early next week when the owners resume bargaining with the players union.

Dick Ravitch, management's chief negotiator, refused to comment on the owners' amended proposal. "The union is entitled to hear it first," Ravitch said Monday in a telephone interview from his New York office.

What the union will hear is that because of the players strike the owners' gross revenue for this year is expected to drop to $1.2 billion from $1.8 billion. This estimate also embraces the 1995 season.

"We've suffered a lot of economic damage," acting commissioner Bud Selig said.

And the players, if and when they agree to the owners' terms, technically could absorb half of the owners' losses. The total cost to the players would be about $300 million.

When asked if this was correct, Ravitch replied:

"We have some estimates floating around but nobody knows precisely. But it's somewhere in that neighborhood."

But the proposal won't sit well with the players.

"Frankly, I don't know what they're going to try to do," said Don Fehr, executive director of the players association.

Fehr also disputed Selig's claim that the owners, on June 14, offered the players a $1 billion salary guarantee.

"They said the billion dollars wouldn't hold if their revenues went down. That's why we called it an illusion. A guarantee is supposed to give you minimum protection against bad circumstances. There was no protection for the players in the possibility of diminished revenues."

Selig offered a different perspective. …

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