THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
America has been living without baseball for far too long. Now, as the strike drags on, it threatens the start of the 1995 season. It could well damage the economies of the spring training states. It is imperiling the livelihoods of tens of thousands of workers whose jobs depend on baseball. And it is trying the patience and depressing the spirits of millions of baseball fans--including me. It is time for this strike to end.
It has always been my belief--and it continues to be--that the baseball strike, like any labor dispute, should be settled through good-faith bargaining between the parties. It was with this principle in mind that I endorsed the Secretary of Labor's proposal to appoint the best mediator around--former Labor Secretary Bill Usery--to help the parties sort our their differences.
Over the last two days, I have spoken with Secretary Reich and with former Secretary Usery about the status of the strike negotiations. We discussed all of the alternatives. I remain convinced that the best way to get baseball back for America is for the parties to reach their own settlement. But we cannot wait indefinitely.
This morning, I asked Bill Usery to bring the owners and the players back to the table, and to step up the pace and intensity of his mediation efforts.
I have asked him to report back to me by February 6 with the progress they have made. If the parties have not reached an agreement by then--or are not on track towards a speedy settlement--I have asked Mr. Usery, if he believes it appropriate, to put forth his own recommendations for a proposed settlement between the parties.
I hope it doesn't come to that. I urge the owners and the players to give their full support to this mediation effort, and to settle this unfortunate dispute themselves. It is time to put behind us the rancor and cynicism that are shadowing the American ideal of baseball. It is time to let all the excitement that the 1995 season can offer sweep away that tarnished image. It's time to "play ball."