Page 16 Friday, May 29, 1981 The Michigan Daily
NEW YORK (AP)-Both sides in the
stalled baseball talks agreed yesterday
to a delay in the impending strike that
would have shut down the game. But
the plan, which was not immediately
detailed, requires a court order to go in-
The strike had been set to begin prior
to today's games, but after meeting for
7'!2 hours with Daniel Silverman,
regional National Labor Relations
Board director, representatives of the
players and owners agreed not to op-
pose a preliminary injunction which
could delay a walkout.
"WE WILL file a petition for a
preliminary injunction and ask for a
hearing date," Silverman said before
escorting Marvin Miller, executive
director of the Players Association, and
Ray Grebey, chief negotiator for the
owners to the court building across the
street where the injunction was to be
The action came one day after the full
NLRB in Washington said it would seek
a temporary restraining order blocking
what would be the first midseason
strike in baseball history.sThe
restraining order would be designed to
give the NLRB time to try and obtain an
injunction blocking the strike for an
even longer period while an unfair
labor practice charge brought by the
players is resolved.
After a delay of about 45 minutes
while attorneys and the principals
waited in a hallway for a judge and a
courtroom to become available, the two
sides moved into court.
Judge Henry Werker opened the
proceedings, saying: "Use Abbot and
Costello. Who's on first?"
SILVERMAN addressed the judge
and explained that "based on
preliminary discussions with the par-
ties, there is a possibility for an exten-
sion in the strike deadline."
The NLRB representative said he
would like a hearing date to be set. But
Werker said, "You have difficulties
with me on that one. I'm leaving Mon-
day for Rochester, N.Y., where I'll be
spending two weeks trying criminal
The judge then asked one represen-
tative from each side to join him in his
private chamber for further discussion.
DONALD FEHR, general counsel for
the Players Association, and Louis
Hoynes, National League attorney,
joined the judge for the conversation.
Both sides were under orders from
Silverman not tb discuss the case with
The court action had to take place at
U.S. District Court in New York since
the original unfair-labor practice
charge that led to the NLRB decision to
seek the order was filed there.
NLRB OFFICIALS had said they ex-
pected the restraining-order request to
be filed earlier.
A court-ordered postponement could
give the players a legal way around the
deadline imposed by the basic
. it's fair to say that things
e possibility of a strike)
ren't on the minds of the
yers as much today as one
r ago. I don't think it affec-
anyone, to tell you the truth.
agreement reached last year when it
was established that if the players did
not strike by June 1 over the issue, they
could not do so for the remainder of the
life of the agreement.
Players and management yesterday
greeted the news that a strike had been
temporarily put off with less surprise
and relief than when the walkout was
averted one year ago.
"I THINK IT'S fair to say that things
weren't on the minds of the players as
much today as one year ago," said Pit-
tsburgh Manager Chuck Tanner after
his club defeated the Cubs, 9-4. "I don't
think it affected anyone, to tell you the
Tanner added that one year ago, he
noticed an "obvious effect" on his
players as the strike deadline neared.
"It just wasn't the same this year, so
it wasn't as much on their minds when
no strike came," Tanner explained.
Chicago player representative Tim
Blackwell agreed with Tanner, saying
there was less talk among the players
about the postponement of a possible
. . .AND IN THIS
Mark Mihanovic ;
Swallow your pride, Illini.. .
... you may get a break
B ACK A CAT into a corner and it'll come at you with its claws up. The
Illinois athletic department, it had seemed to me, was the cat, and the
Big Ten faculty representatives had backed it into the tightest of corners
with the penalties it levied against the Illini for their alleged role as the con-
ference's adversary in the Dave Wilson eligibility case: three years of
probation and two years of sanctions denying the men's program access to
any conference-generated athletic revenue or post-season competition. The
latter factor is certainly the one that has the Illini people wailing the loudest;
it'll cost them a cool million per annum, they claim.
Thus, it seemed understandable that Illinois would, want to fight the
representatives' decision, claws up. It was a cat with no other way out. Sure,
the faculty men felt that their role as the governing body of the Big Ten was
being challenged; but their point could have been duly made with a
somewhat lighter penalty. Athletic Director Neale Stoner and his depar-
tment were being assessed 30 yards for offsides.
But it now appears that the Illini have been fighting simply for the sake of
it. When the conference faculty representatives recently extended the date
that the sanctions would begin from July 1 to September 1, they were sending
a signal to Illinois: stop screaming bloody murder, and we'll sit down and
see if we can work something out. Yet the school failed to pick up the hint,
and threats to leave the Big Ten unless sanctions are completely dropped
continue to emanate from Champaign.
Illini blowing their chance
Thomas Anton, Michigan's faculty rep, is perplexed by the Illinois reac-
tion to postponement of the penalty. "It provides a symbolic opportunity for
Illinois to make changes in its athletic program," Anton explained yester-
day. "It's unclear whether they are making any effort to do that.
"Illinois has, throughout the affair, taken the position that it, rather than
the conference, has the right to determine eligibility," he continued.
"Illinois, from the beginning, has attacked the governing constitution of the
conference, which is the faculty body. Unless Illinois is prepared to
recognize that, and unless it makes changes accordingly, I don't see how the
sanctions could be changed."
There you have it: the psychology of the men pulling the conference
strings. As much as anything, they are insulted by this challenge to their
authority. Their egos are a mite sensitive after a court ruling last fall made
it possible for Wilson to play the 1980 season despite the fact that they had
Whether or not Illinois feels that the original 9-0 vote of the representatives
to impose the sanctions is borne of spite, it should take advantage of the
penalty postponementito deal with the Big Ten in private, to attempt to per-
suade the representatives that they realize there were mistakes made but
that maybe the faculty members could be sports and lighten upa little.
Instead they continue to claim total naivete and innocence. And spew out
Reps won't admit mistake
Besides, Anton is of the opinion that the original penalties were quite
reasonable. "We were very careful to take all the factors into account," he
said. "They played a player for an entire year who the conference deter-
"We tried to find a set of penalties that would get Illinois' attention and
also provide them motivation to make corrections and make them quickly."
Undoubtedly the other eight decision-makers feel similarly.
So the smart thing for Stoner and Co. to do would be to deal with the faculty
representatives the way they want to be dealt with, admit that they were at
least partially involved in-Wilson's litigation against the conference (it is in-
credulous to imagine that they weren't), and ask for a little mercy.
Of course, Illinois can remain atop its high horse of principle. It can fight
the penalties all the way and then be forced to accept them in martyr-like
fashion. But do you stifle opportunities for hundreds of young athletes in or-
der to maintain the eligibility of one? Or, hell, we'll show them, we'll leave
the conference, it might say. But really, where is Illinois going to go where it
will enjoy advantages comparable to those of Big Ten residency? The
Missouri Valley Conference?
Sometimes you're wrong even when you're right. Maybe, in this case, the
principle should take a back seat to the practical.