THE STRIKE (CONT.)
I miss the daily box scores and the Sunday statistics, but I—and most other baseball fans, I think—have no sympathy whatsoever for the players and hope the owners have guts enough to see the strike through.
The players have lost all feeling for what is in the best interest of the game. They are guided solely by greed. They have the gall to ask to see the income statements of the owners. How much money the owners make or don't make is none of the players' business. An owner risks everything when he raises the capital to purchase a team and, therefore, has the right to run it in any manner he sees fit.
What about the fans? I don't believe the players care. The fans keep giving and giving and paying and paying, but what do the players give back? Very little, unless they are compensated. Should someone who earns between $300,000 and $600,000 per year charge $1,000 to $5,000 to speak to a group of fans in the off-season?
I urge all fans to support their Little League, American Legion, college and minor league teams. The players are correct on one assumption: The game will survive. But perhaps it doesn't need the present players. If the owners used minor league talent to play out the current season, I think the fans would support them.
July 12, 1981
I would rather see no baseball than have these spoiled, self-indulgent prima donnas win their strike. Fans, please support the game and the owners.
Go, Richmond Braves!
In 1976, the players did everything possible, short of slitting their throats, to come up with a compromise on free agency. They designed a formula that was meant to prevent free agency from getting out of hand. As it turned out, the owners—not the players—were the ones who turned free agency into a game for spoiled rich kids. And yet the players are now accused of being greedy brats.
Once again, the players are offering a compromise, suggesting a pool of players as a form of compensation for the loss of a free agent. And, again, their formula sounds reasonable. But Bowie Kuhn and the owners are too spoiled, blind and stubborn to know what is in the best interest of the game.
I have felt all along that the players were in the right. I'm happy to see that when push came to shove, the players stood their ground. The trouble is, however, that the owners probably won't wake up until it's too late. So the 1981 baseball season will either go down the tubes or, worse, finish with an asterisk beside its stats.
It's a shame, and the spoiled rich-kid owners are the ones to blame.
The strike has affected me in a way I could never have imagined.
I'm what is known as a rabid baseball fan. I live, eat, sleep and breathe the Baltimore Orioles. I cannot function until I have read the morning's sports section. I will sit in my driveway for three hours because my car radio picks up the station that carries the Orioles better then the one in the house. I traveled to Chicago last year to see the Orioles play the White Sox on Opening Day. I suffer genuine baseball withdrawal each October.
But something strange has happened. The strike has produced a totally unpredictable reaction. I'm not bored or stir crazy or even angry about the loss of my summer passion. For some reason, I just don't give a damn. It really won't matter if there isn't another game this year. I never would have believed it possible, but I have simply lost interest.
I called the Orioles' ticket office about my tickets for games already missed. I was told that I could either exchange them for future games once the strike is settled or receive a refund. I think I'll take the refund.
DENISE A. FEE
I've been an avid ball fan ever since my boyhood days in Los Angeles. I've always considered major league baseball to be the best entertainment for my money. Having moved to Honolulu, a city with no big league franchise, I caught every game I could on Monday nights and on cable TV (NBC's Saturday games aren't televised here). I didn't think of going to see the local Triple A team, the Islanders, when I could catch the Dodgers or the Yankees or even the Braves on TV.
With the strike, I found myself heading out to Aloha Stadium to see the Islanders battle the Tacoma Tigers for the Pacific Coast League Northern Division crown for the first half of the season. In one week, I saw eight exciting games, played by men who obviously love the sport for itself, not for the money they are being paid. I saw the Islanders' George Stablein throw a no-hitter one night and Ed Figueroa of the Tigers pitch almost flawlessly another. On Saturday, June 20, I witnessed one of the best games I've ever seen, an 11-inning pitchers' duel that ended with a home run by Rick Lancellotti giving the Islanders the pennant.
I'm sold on the minors. I don't really care when the strike ends. I can always go out and catch the Islanders. The strike is the best thing that has happened to minor league baseball in years. Thank you, Miller and Grebey.
I propose that baseball fans go on strike for one month upon the resumption of play, whenever that comes. It will hurt, but can you just imagine the hurt that will be inflicted on the owners' wallets and the superstars' egos by all those empty seats? They need us a hell of a lot more than we need them.
I must disagree with Steve Wulf's statement that the strike was a "godsend" for the Cubbies (It's 3,630 and Holding, June 22). On the contrary, it merely halted the hottest team in baseball, a team that had just won five of its last six games, pounding Fernando what's-his-name out of the box in the process. If the strike is a godsend, then God obviously isn't a Cub fan.
Steve Wulf omitted one very important person also taking a holiday from his story How I Spent Summer Vacation (June 29). That would be the commissioner of baseball himself. Bowie Kuhn's job seems to be limited to throwing out baseballs on Opening Day, rejecting trades and playing up to the owners. He's certainly not doing anything to end the strike. Like most baseball fans, we hope his vacation goes on long after the strike ends—in the commissioner's own words, "for the good of the game."
MARK T. CICHON
East Hartford, Conn.
On Monday I saw The Cannonball Run. I thought it was an excellent movie. On Thursday, I get my June 29th SI in the mail. What do I find but a review of The Cannonball Run written by some clown named Frank Deford. I don't think Deford is qualified to critique a Walt Disney cartoon. Maybe it was beyond his understanding, but the crashes he saw were meant to be amusing, and I thought they were. I thought I'd cancel my subscription when Deford described Peter Fonda, Roger Moore, Dean Martin, Jamie Farr and a number of others as "has-beens." But then I remembered I read SI for sports, not irresponsible movie reviews.
New Eagle, Pa.
While Frank Deford tries fruitlessly to emulate Rex, Rona and Gene, he's overlooking what is central to the movie: It's very funny slapstick designed to let the viewer escape from the real world for two hours. Nothing less, nothing more.
ON THE TRACK
When December rolls around and you have to decide on Sportsman of the Year, don't rule out Carl Lewis (Going to Great Lengths, June 1). He has brought track and field back into prominence. He is not only the world's finest long jumper, but the best sprinter as well. My only question is: What does he have to do to make the cover, 30 feet?
As a runner and salesman, I enjoyed Kenny Moore's unique look at Steve Scott in your June 22 issue (As We Join Our Show, Steve Is, as Usual, Running). I got an extra chuckle from the limited view Scott's father, Gordon, has of the sales profession. He said, "I kind of doubt Steve would be any good in high-pressure business, like sales, because he's incapable of facing another person and being untruthful." In my four years of selling I've never lied to a customer, though I must admit I've stretched the truth now and then about my running exploits.
DALE R. MUELLER
I found Clive Gammon's account of the Jim Watt-Alexis Arguello bout (A Fight Without the Phony, June 29) quite interesting and well written. There is one glaring mistake, though. Glasgow Rangers play in Ibrox Park, not Hampden Park. Ibrox Park, by the way, is currently undergoing renovations that will make it one of the most modern pitches in all of Europe. Hampden Park, home of the Scottish international side, is the site of League and Scottish Cup semis and finals.
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