The Michigan Daily-Friday, March 21, 1980-Page 11
The Sporting Views
... far away?
By SCOTT M. LEWIS
IN JUST TWO WEEKS major league baseball clubs will return from
their working vacations in Florida and Arizona. Glowing scouting
reports have already begun to grace the daily sports section. Managers will
confidently predict "an exciting, interesting year," which usually means a
fifth place finish.
The umpires will yell, "Play ball!" and players will stampede out of the
dugout, eager to begin the 1980 season.
Or will they?
Based on reports from spring training camps, ther'e won't be a baseball
season unless the players and owners agree on a new contract. According to
players' union head Marvin Miller, agreement is doubtful before April 5,
which happens to be opening day.
In a bleak statement to Sports Illustrated's Ron Fimrite, Miller vowed
that under no condition will the season begin without a signed contract.
One must make serious note of Miller's warning. In February 1972 he
promised a player strike if a set of demands was'not met. And in April, the
players did strike, delaying the start of the season by two weeks before an
agreement was based out.
At that time only a handful of players were making what we call "big
money"; nearly everyone supported Miller's hard line against the owners.
As a result of his efforts, the reserve clause-that anachronistic lynchpin of
player-owner relations which tied a player to a team like a slave to his
master-was finally overturned.
A few years later many worried owners felt they had to loosen their
money belts if they wanted to remain competitive. Players' salaries ad
been on a gradual rise prior to 1975, but have increased some 250 per ce in
the past five years.
The emancipated players, having won
the right to sell their talents to the highest
r $ bidder, have been asking for-and
receiving-outlandishly high salaries. A
33-year-old sore-armed pitcher named
Nolan signs a four-year, $4 million con-
tract. A .270 designated hitter named
Oscar (who was a bad Gamble) earns
$450,000 a year. A Catfish hooks the
Yankees for $5 million and immediately
develops arm trouble.
It appears the belts have been so
loosened that the owners are losing their
Miller NO one like to be caught with his pants
down. The owners, 26 proud, affluent busi-
ness and civic leaders certainly are no exception. When their previous
four-year contract with the players expired on December 31 of last year,
they laid down a framework for a new agreement which, in their eyes, is
baseball's only salvation.t
Upon hearing the terms of the owners' plan, Miller became furious. All
the benefits which he secured during the 1970's would be wiped out if the
owners' intentions became a reality.
Why are Miller and the players so irate? Because the owners, who
opened the floodgates to free agency by shelling out millions, are trying to
make baseball take a giant step backward.
The owners propose that a rigid salary structure be imposed on players
with less than six years in the majors and that teams be compensated for all
free agency losses. If their plan were implemented, no first-year player
could earn more than $40,600; second year-$53,000, and so forth until the
seventh year when the ceiling would be lifted.
At first glance the owners' plan seems equitable to all prties involved.
Ray Grebey who lsrepresenting the owners in the current haggling with
Miller, poiit. out that the arrangement is much more flexible than those
which govern football (the "Rozelle Rule") and basketball. The owners, he
explains, are simply trying to reinstate order to an environment which
"risks the ruination of the industry."
If Grebey and his clients were to take their case to an arbitrator, they
would come away certain losers. For one, the owners are primarily respon-
sible for this "ruinous" situation. No one forced them to pay Reggie Jackson
$2.9 million. No one forced them to pay Dave Cash $2,4 million or John Curtis
(who?) $2 million. .
The Baltimore Orioles, a home-grown unit, came within one game of
winning the World Series despite having one of the league's smaller payrolls.
Minnesota and Houston, both among the bottom six on the salary list, con-
tended for a pennant until the final weeks. Building a strong base of minor
league talent-the Fetzer-Campbell Doctrine, if you will-is a sound alter-
native to the purchasing of high-priced free agents. Cheaper, too.
Second, the situation is not as grave as the owners would like the public
to believe. Major league attendance has grown steadily over the past four
years, last season's figure of 43,550,398 eclipsing a record set in 1978.
More important than the financial facts, however, is the train of thought
behind the owner's plan. In essence, what the owners are saying to young,
talented players is: "Look, I don't care how good you are. You're not going
to be making more than $40,000 this year even if you did hit .330 with 40 home
Imagine telling that to Ron Guidry after a 25-4 year in 1978 or to Mark
Fidrych after his rookie season. To lump a Steve Kemp-caliber player with a
Jim Wohlford or Rob. Andrews destroys the concept of reward based on
merit, a traditional American incentive.
Many people sneer at this argument when it is applied to the world of
sport. "How," they ask, "can one justify paying a ballplayer $100,000 and
doctor only half that much? Or a teach one-tenth that much?"
No justification is offered here. I concur with a Miami writer that the
current salary scheme is "obscene, insane." But it is equally obscene for
Johnny Carson to collect $50,000 a week or Burt Reynolds to earn a million
dollars from a movie. But they do, and honestly, do their talents benefit the
lot of society any more than Reggie Jackson?
Put simply, the owners-and ultimately the fans who foot the bill-are
b l-agured by a remunerative system which rewards those with a rare talent,
in this case hitting and throwing a baseball. The economist Adam Smith,
whom Fimrite cited in his piece, said it best two centuries ago:
"It seems absurd at first sight that we should despise (these) persons
and yet reward their talents with the most profuse liberality. While we do the
one, we must of necessity do the other."
MEES A STANDOUT
Wolverines crush Hornets
By GREG DEGULIS
By the time you could say Kalamazoo,- the Michigan
men's tennis team easily disposed of the Hornets from the
western part of Michigan, 9-0. The netters maintained com-
plete control of the match played in the confines of the Track
and Tennis building, losing but one set in yesterday's action.
The flexible lineup utilized by coach Brian Eisner
featuring alternating number one singles and four freshmen
proved to be successful. Sophomore Michael Leach occupied
the number one singles slot and handily defeated Brian Mon-
fils of Kalamazoo 6-2, 6-2 to start the Wolverine onslaught.
Leach, with his excellent serve and volley game, kept Mon-
fils off-balance the entire match.
THE SECOND PART of the alternating singles tandem,
junior Matt Horwitch, played second singles yesterday
eliminating Chris Burns 6-2, 6-3 on the fast surface at Track
One of the four talented freshmen, Mark Mees, played
third singles and according to Eisner, "was the MVP for the
day. Mark just had a great day winning 6-0, 6-0 in singles and
6-0, 6-3 in doubles. Of course Mark is effective playing
anywhere, but here (Track and Tennis) he is especially effec-
tive. He has unbelievable accuracy."
Eisner's comments will get no rebuttal from Kalamazoo's
overmatched third singles player John Mansuedo who had to
face Mees twice yesterday, winning only three games. In ad-
dition to Mansuedo, Kalamazoo coach George Aker was also
impressed with Mees. "I thought that Michigan would lose
something when Etterbeek left," stated Aker, "but Mees has
really filled the gap."
AT FOURTH SINGLES, "the big man," 6-7 co-captain
Judd Shaufler downed John Hosner losing only four games in
two sets. Shaufler's booming serves were just too much for
Hosner to handle.
The other co-captain, Jack Neinken rained on Paul
Showers 6-1, 6-2 in fifth singles, and freshmen Tom Haney
completed the singles sweepstakes by defeating Bill Van-
derhoet 6-1, 6-2.
With an insurmountable 6-0 led after the singles matches,
Michigan completed the onslaught by winning the three
doubles matches. Shaufler and Mees teamed tosquash Burns
and Masuedo 6-3, 6-0 in an impressive win. A new doubles
team of Neinken and Haney played very well according to
Eisner in the 6-1, 6-2 ambush of Monfils and Ballantine.
At third doubles a pair of freshmen, Dan McLaughlin and
Louie McKee, had the toughest match yesterday going three
sets. When Michigan lost the second set after winning the fir-
st 6-0, coach Eisner came on the court to confer with his
freshmen. Eisner told McLaughlin and McKee to "attack the
weakest part of their opponent." The two freshmen heeded
the coach's advice and won the match 6-0, 4-6, 6-3 to complete
yet another 9-0 Wolverine victory.
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Women neters keep cool
despite lack of practice
By DAN CONLIN
Practice makes perfect.
Michigan women's tennis coach Ollie
Owens must never have heard this
saying. Or if he did, he probably winced
and shut his eyes because his team will
have only practiced one and a half
hours in the last two weeks.
No, the team is not lazy. Nor are the
women too good for Purdue, Central
Michigan and Eastern Michigan -
Their weekend opponents. The lack of
practice is due to the logjam of events
in the Track and Tennis Building.
Owens, as yet, is not complaining
about the limited practice time,
because of the solid hold his team has
on one of the top spots in the Big Ten
race. The improvement Owens saw on
the spring break trip was also enough to
ease the frustrations of practiceless af-
"We definitely improved over the
break," said Owens, "and our 1-4
record doesn't reflect how we've been
The slow start this year is due
primarily to the injuries which have
plagued the team. No. 5 singles player
Ann Kercher, a senior, has been injured
since early in the season. Kercher's in-
jury has forced Owens to juggle his
"That does effect us because it's hard
to change partners," said Owens, "but
we're healthy now and settling into a
And a healthy team sets Michigan in
good position for the two-day meet
Friday and Saturday.
"The four-way meet boils down to
Michigan versus Purdue, and from
there, it's a toss-up," said Owens.
Michigan got a chance to scout Pur-
due darlier this season in a meet held in
"We were able to beat Purdue in the
Kentucky meet," said freshman Jill
Hertzman. "The University of Ten-
nessee, at Knoxville, came in first, we
took second and Purdue took third."
The meet on Friday and Saturday is
the third conference meet of the season.
Earlier this winter, Michigan defeated
Ohio State 7-2, and three weeks-later
lost to Michigan State, 4-5. These
meets, when combined with the spring
trip, leave the women with a 1-4 record.
The team is led by Kathy Karzen, a
senior, who went the entire spring trip
without losing a match in singles com-
petition. The other returning players
are Sue Weber and Ann Kercher, who
both had excellent seasons last year.
Weber had a long win streak ended late
in the season, and Kercher also showed
well during the year.
The most unusual feature of the team
is that they have three walk-ons; fresh-
persons Robbie Risdon, Jill Hertzman
and Daisy Martin.
* March 21-22-Eastern Michigan, Pur-
due, Central Michigan, 5 p.m., Ann
* March 29-Miami of Ohio, 1 p.m.,
April 1-Kalamazoo College,
April 4-Wisconsin, Minnesota, Madi-
April 5-Northwestern, Iowa, Evan-
April 8-Michigan State, East Lan-
April 11-13-Buckeye Open, Colum-
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