Play or payBaseball owners and players have entered into a...

the Forum

September 19, 1994

Play or pay

Baseball owners and players have entered into a complex contractual arrangement which goes far beyond the principal actors. It is a social contract which directly affects municipalities, vendors, local economies, etc. in a very real way.

The present and future endless strikes are utterly irresponsible blows to the body economic with disastrous consequences for everyone. The owners and players should be required to post a performance bond. Either play or pay.

Marco Sampson

Baltimore

Suckers, arise

Many in the sports media are questioning whether the owners or the players are more responsible for the baseball strike. While both deserve some of the blame, I believe the major culprit is the fans. A national sports commentator referred to the fans as ''impactless'' before the strike. At this point, we're not just ''impactless,'' we're a bunch of suckers.

The greed that is now running rampant in major professional sports has been fostered by an extraordinary growth in revenues in the past 10 years. These revenues have come from manyfold increases in ticket prices, enormous growth in rights fees for broadcasting events and booming sales of officially endorsed products.

Who has willingly gone along with the increases in ticket prices? The fans in record numbers. Who has stayed on the sidelines, helpless to do anything when rights fees exploded, especially in professional football? The fans and non-fans alike, who pay higher prices for products advertised on these events. And who is purchasing all those expensive products that are officially endorsed? Need I answer?

It's time we recognized the power we fans could wield by acting collectively. Begin by attending less sporting events. In particular, baseball attendance must drop to send a message to the owners. Follow this by carefully noting the sponsors of each game you watch on television. Assiduously avoid purchasing any of their products, until rights fees are significantly reduced. Finally, buy endorsed products only for the kids, who still see the players as heroes.

If we do this, we could put an end to the greed that is destroying major professional sports and place ourselves squarely in the middle of the player/owner business equation. The pressure we fans could bring to bear might return a lot of sanity to the situation, and bring back some of the respect these sports have lost. Let's at least try to return financial equity to the games; and rehabilitate the sports we all used to cherish - like baseball.

Jim Beller

Rockville

Canadian health

A Canadian newspaper informing Canadians, not an ad from American insurance companies, illustrates how the Quebec Province health system rations health services. A few excerpts:

* At the end of 1993, there were 23,000 patients on waiting lists at 102 hospitals in Quebec, and the numbers fluctuate very little each month.

* At one hospital, 3,226 children were waiting for operations, 1,670 of whom needed surgery within 90 days. The balance, 1,556, will wait longer than three months.

* 626 cancer patients on waiting lists for urgent operations and 276 other cancer patients waited an average of six weeks for treatment, but one was kept on a waiting list for eight months.

* A survey of all provinces showed that the period from the time that the general practitioner referred the patient to a specialist until the patient saw the specialist, and the time to treatment obtained, varied from 4.1 weeks to see a specialist and 6.4 weeks to obtain treatment in Quebec -- the best -- to 5.9 weeks to see a specialist and 11.5 weeks to treatment in New Brunswick.

This is the health care that some clowns in Congress are proposing to ram down the American public's throat.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D.-W. Va.)said we were going to get a health bill whether the American people want it or not. Rest assured, our bureaucrats would foul up a Canadian-type health system worse than the Canadians do.

rank Heddinger

Pasadena

Boat lift disaster

Calling the deal President Clinton and Cuba's Fidel Castro agreed to a ''foreign policy triumph'' puzzles me ("No Boat Lift This Time," Sept. 12).

Once again, Mr. Castro has been able to meddle in our domestic affairs and adjust our immigration rules.

Although some believe a minimum of 20,000 Cubans entering this country each year is a benefit, this taxpayer thinks otherwise. The word ''minimum'' is misleading. Where is the cutoff point?

Although many Cuban refugees will be children, the majority will be adults. How can this country create enough jobs to handle such an influx? As a taxpayer who is required to support this nation's malignant welfare system, I resent more people being put on the dole. If we take a minimum of 20,000 Cubans per year, by the year 2000 we will have more than 120,000 new, non-English speaking citizens.

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