Two sure ways to strike back at both sides

INSIDE PITCH

August 06, 1994|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Sun Staff Writer

Enough of this nonsense already. Just get on with it.

Give us some action, not talk. No more petty schemes, such as withholding pension funds, or quibbling over $7.8 million when the issues involve billions of dollars.

Forget the knee-jerk proposal of a fan boycott -- that only hurts the little guy who has already bought a ticket. If this baseball season is worth saving -- and enough spectacular things are going to suggest it is -- herewith is presented a two-fold plan guaranteed to avert a strike, or at the least avoid a long-term stoppage.

The first stipulation is to impose a complete media blackout -- the sooner the better. Living with a strike is a lot better than reading or listening about one. The mental digestive system can only stand so much rhetoric.

The second is to book the principal negotiators, Donald Fehr and Richard Ravitch, without backup, into a downtown Detroit hotel and force them to remain on the premises until an agreement is reached. It would take room service less than a week to provoke a settlement.

Of the two required steps, the first would provide the best service for the Ivory soap percentage (99 44/100) of America. The second would be satisfactory punishment for the point men for the two sides (owners and players) who let this thing go this far -- again.

Without question every news service in the country could play a major role in forging a settlement. The less Fehr and Ravitch read and hear about what the other has to say, the better.

The other 56/100 percent who might be curious (owners, players and their immediate families) can suffer in silence, and give the rest of us a break. The only baseball strikes that matter are the ones that lead to outs. As far as labor issues go (Mr. Ravitch, Mr. Fehr, read our lips) -- WE DON'T CARE.

The latest flap over the owners withholding the $7.8 million payment due the players' pension and benefits fund is ridiculous. It comes down to $278,571.43 per club, roughly the cost of a utility infielder -- or less than one-quarter of one percent of the $173 million Peter Angelos and his group paid for the Orioles.

As for the other side, that $7.8 million is earmarked for the pension fund, which the last time we checked is paid to players after they retire. The immediate consequences are that the owners keep the return on the investment rather than the players.

That topic, which in reality is a non-issue, used up an entire negotiating session two days ago. What does that tell you.

Enough already. Just get to it. And please . . . please . . . pretty please, no more information about the issues. WE DON'T CARE.

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