Thursday, Aug. 29, 2002: Sometime on this day the owners -- probably still clinging to the $107 million mark for the luxury tax threshold for all four years of the deal -- will suddenly instruct their mouthpieces to push it up in at least the final three years. If their creditors, TV partners and sponsors have scared them enough, the offer will be sufficient for the players to say yes and to announce a tentative settlement in time for Peter Jennings to nod sagely about it.
If the owners present a lukewarm offer that Don Fehr still thinks he can finesse in short order, some kind of public announcement or leakage of "positive signs," will be made by 6 p.m. EDT. This is pure logistics: Players have to know whether to travel to the cities in which their new weekend series will begin the next day. The union has never sent players into the air to get to games unless it expects those games to be played.
There remains a 50-50 chance that despite all the exterior pressure, all the fear of cataclysmic revenue collapse and ownership financial fatalities, management will still be belligerent. In that event, talks will break off by dinnertime or by midevening at the latest, and the strike will begin at the end of the Tampa Bay at Anaheim game, around 12:30 a.m.
Simple rule of thumb here: If they haven't broken off talks and announced a strike by 7 or 8 p.m., they've probably got a deal, or at worst, are about to get one.
It's all a matter of perspective.
Wednesday, August 28, 2002
Keith Olbermann gives a day by day forecast for the baseball strike that is somewhat encouraging. He sees as a worst case scenario about nine days of strike, and seems to think that the strike will likely be avoided. His reasoning, bankers calling in loans to the owners that they can not pay without baseball games to generate revenue. Here is his play by play for Thursday: