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Owners blast union counteroffer

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published August 25, 2002

NEW YORK -- Owners immediately slammed players Saturday for making what management called backward proposals on the key issues of revenue sharing and a luxury tax.

Six days before the union's Aug. 30 strike deadline, the sides appeared to be on a collision course for baseball's ninth work stoppage since 1972.

"We could not have been more disappointed in the proposal we received," said Rob Manfred, the owners' chief labor lawyer. "This is raw regressive bargaining."

Players said their proposals were a positive step and moved closer toward the clubs, and didn't understand why management publicly attacked them.

On a night of dueling conference calls with reporters, Manfred accused players of backtracking on increased revenue sharing because the union's proposal Saturday phased in the increases. Owners want the entire amount of the increase to start next year, which players think would cripple the richest teams.

"There was never, ever, ever a phase-in proposal discussed until" Saturday, Manfred said.

Owners want $268-million transferred next year from the wealthiest teams to the poorest ones, up from about $169-million under the current formula. The union proposed transfers of $172.3-million in 2003, $195.6-million in 2004, $219-million in 2005 and $242.3-million in 2006.

In 2006, the final year of the proposed deal, the sides are relatively close. All figures use 2001 revenue figures for analysis.

Under the union's plan, teams would share 33.3 percent of their local revenue, up from 20 percent under the current deal. Union chief Donald Fehr said that players had been at 31 percent and owners at 37 percent and that the union shifted to management's preferred method of redistributing the money, which favors middle-markets teams.

Fehr said the sides had discussed phase-ins for at least the past 11/2 years. The union thinks that's important because the very richest teams, such as the Yankees, would have to pay more next year even though the overall transfer amount wouldn't change.

"The parties have discussed for a long time that when agreements are eventually reached, changes will have to be phased in over time," Fehr said. "They clearly understand this would be phased in. Therefore, I am at a loss to explain what this is all about."

Manfred discounted last year's discussions, saying the union had not brought up the topic again until Aug. 4.

"What went on then is ancient history by the times these talks got going," Manfred said.

Fehr said making the full increase next year would cause problems for the largest teams.

ROSEBORO MEMORIAL: Former Dodgers catcher John Roseboro was remembered as a great friend by the man who hit him over the head with a bat during a 1965 game.

Roseboro "forgiving was one of the best things that happened in my life," former Giants pitcher Juan Marichal said during a memorial in Los Angeles.

More than 15 former Dodger players, including Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax and Maury Wills, attended the service.

Roseboro died Aug. 16 of a stroke. He was 69.

Koufax recalled Roseboro's contagious smile.

"Son, father, husband, friend, great teammate, quiet strength, competitor. There are a lot of things you can say about John," Koufax said. "For me the thing I remember most is his sense of humor."

ASTROS: Outfielder Richard Hidalgo went on the 15-day disabled list with a right hip strain. Outfielder Jason Lane was recalled from Triple-A New Orleans.

BRAVES: Left-handed reliever Mike Remlinger was activated from the 15-day disabled list, and rookie right-hander Kevin Gryboski was optioned to Triple-A Richmond.

CARDINALS: Right-hander Matt Morris went on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring. There was no word how long he would be sidelined.

DODGERS: Leftfielder Brian Jordan, who has played in one of the past 14 games because of a protruding disc in his lower back, was placed on the 15-day disabled list.

GIANTS: Leftfielder Barry Bonds and second baseman Jeff Kent did not start against the Expos because of nagging injuries. Bonds has soreness in both knees, and Kent has a left quad muscle strain.

METS: Calling the suggestion "degrading," an irate manager Bobby Valentine reported that "somebody has the audacity to say that I'm trying to get fired from this job or that I want to quit." Valentine would not say where that idea originated or who said it. ... Third baseman Edgardo Alfonzo was activated from the 15-day disabled list.

YANKEES: General manager Brian Cashman said first baseman/DH Nick Johnson's return from a bone bruise on his left wrist could come sooner than expected, though he didn't specify. Johnson took 25 swings off a tee and took fielding practice.

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