Baseball / MLB

Baseball deal proposed; strike talks set to continue

Kyodo

Ball club management and players sought a compromise deal in an attempt to avert a strike Thursday, but failed to reach an agreement and talks will continue Friday.

Management representatives from the 12 professional clubs offered a compromise proposal to the players association in a six-hour meeting held in Osaka, a day after the club owners approved a merger between the Orix BlueWave and Kintetsu Buffaloes.

The players association has set a Friday 5 p.m. deadline for baseball officials to meet its demand that the merger be shelved for one year to create time to hold in-depth discussions and talks to assess its advisability.

“We left everything up to tomorrow. Chances of a strike? It all depends on management’s action,” said Toru Matsubara, secretary general of the association.

The negotiations are scheduled to resume 11 a.m. Friday after Nippon Professional Baseball holds a hurriedly called executive meeting involving such top officials as Central League President Hajime Toyokura and Pacific League President Tadao Koike.

On Monday, the players association decided to walk out on all games scheduled on Saturdays and Sundays for the rest of September unless its demand is accepted by Friday’s deadline. It would be the first-ever strike in Japanese baseball history.