Baseball returns to Washington Monday, when negotiations between the owners and the players will be resumed here at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.
Federal mediator Kenneth E. Moffett said yesterday that Secretary of Labor Raymond J. Donovan is going to start the meeting, scheduled for 2 p.m., but is not expected to participate full time in the negotiations.
Donovan met separately Friday with Ray Grebey, the owners' chief negotiator, and Marvin Miller, the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, and suggested moving the talks to Washington.
Moffet said last week that one reason for moving the negotiations to Washington is to remove them from the "goldfish bowl" of media coverage in New York.
When Miller arrived at National Airport Friday afternoon, he found himself in a veritable fish tank of media scrutiny. During his meeting with Donovan, Miller said, "I was trying to find out why (he thought it would help to come to Washington). I told him of my experience moments before at the airport.
"He asked if concentrated, consistent sessions would help. And I said, 'Your question implies that there hasn't been enough meeting time. We had some 38 meetings. The problem is not due to a lack of meetings.'"
Donovan met with both sides in New York on Wednesday and his presence failed to produce an agreement. Moving the negotiations to Washignton certainly increases the prospect of government pressure for a settlement.
"I also tried to explain to the secretary that when you address two groups they have to be parallel groups," Miller said. "The players have a full committee present authorized to make decisions. They (the owners' bargaining team) keep telling us, 'We don't make the decisions. We don't have the authority to do this.'
"If you are going to attempt to apply pressure, and that is a legitimate concern of the government, you can't do it by addressing the players who can make an agreement and the owners who can't. The (board of directors of the owners') Player Relations Committee is allowed to remain isolated and insolated.
Asked if Donovan had suggested including the board of directors of the Palyers Relation Committee or other owners into the negotiating process, Miller said, "It didn't happen as of yesterday."
In the most recent developments at the bargaining table, the owners fsaid the players would receive no credit for time lost during the strike. Miller and the union said that was unacceptable, then they said they would accept binding arbitration to end the walkout, a proposal turned down by the owners.
The strike over the issue of free-agent compensation began June 12 and, by tonight, will have wiped out 447 games -- more than one-fifth of the season -- and postponed (and possibly canceled) the All-Star Game, which was to have been played in Cleveland Tuesday night.