Orioles owner Peter Angelos said yesterday that he disagrees with his fellow baseball owners' decision to implement their salary cap proposal, and added that a plan put forth by striking players in the final hours of negotiations was one that "breaks new ground."
Angelos said the two sides should have kept talking, despite a Dec. 23 midnight deadline that the owners had given the players for reaching a collective bargaining agreement.
Negotiators for the two sides met in Washington until late Thursday evening, but failed to make a deal. The owners then took the most serious step yet in the five-month talks by unilaterally imposing work terms.
"I thought the negotiations should have been continued," the Orioles owner said in a brief interview. "The deadline should have been shifted so we were not made prisoner by it."
Angelos said he was encouraged by the revised offer made by the players Thursday, saying it is "one that breaks new ground, and indicates the union is responding to the concerns of the owners regarding the need to apply restraint to ever-esca
lating club payrolls."
The players' compromise plan included a 10 percent flat tax on high-spending clubs and a 25 percent secondary tax on payrolls that far exceed a target salary ceiling.
The plan didn't include a cap on players' salaries, however, and that doomed it among the owners, many of whom have been adamant about that term. The owners' lead negotiator, John Harrington, dismissed the proposal, saying it "failed to include any mechanism that would significantly restrain salaries."
On a related subject, Angelos has told his fellow owners that he won't field a replacement team if striking players do not return.
At an owners' meeting in Chicago last week, Angelos told the owners that he will not participate in any plan that would end Cal Ripken's consecutive-game streak, according to sources familiar with Angelos' remarks. If the Orioles played games with replacement players, Ripken's streak, second only to Lou Gehrig's record, apparently would be over.
Angelos declined to discuss the issue of replacement games yesterday.