The Baltimore Orioles were in general agreement last night that the postponement of the scheduled strike for at least a week was good for baseball and would enhance their efforts to remain the hottest team in the major leagues.
The Orioles, who come off a threegame sweep of the New York Yankees and have won 16 of their last 19 games, lead the American League East by three games. They begin a three-game home stand against the Detroit Tigers tonight.
"Anything that postpones this strike is good because neither the players nor the owners want one," said Oriole pitcher Steve Stone. "We've fought a long time to get a baseball interest to the level it is now and we don't want to lose that. And if postponing the negotiations is the way to do it, I'm for it. The most important thing is we're still playing. And the way we're playing right now, we don't want any interruptions."
O's first baseman Eddie Murray agreed. "It's got be good for us because we're going good right now. Of couse, we'd prefer to keep playing and not lose any of our momentum. No one is surprised this was put off. Nothing has changed because of this week delay of a decision and if things remain the same, the threat of a strike is still there."
Most of the players interviewed by The Washington Post said the extra week would serve no purpose since this dispute has been unresolved for more than a year. But the postponement seemed to show an eagerness by both sides to avoid a strike.
"Unless the basic issues are addressed, it's only a matter of time," center fielder Al Bumbry said. "I'm optimistic the dispute will be settled because basically, I believe people will do what's right. This extra week doesn't change a thing. And my opinion of this matter doesn't change either. The only good thing to come out of this is that we're still playing baseball and the fans will see some games this weekend."
In Montreal, the Expos' Woodie Fryman was also glad for the extra playing time. Fryman told United Press International: "The delay helps because they'll just keep negotioating and we'll be able to get the season in. It's just one of those things where they'll keep delaying and we'll keep playing."
"Maybe the postponement will serve as a message to the owners that they can't keep putting this thing off," said Oriole pitcher Scott McGregor. "Maybe they'll get serious now. Anything can be resolved if both parties sit down and discuss the issues."
In Milwaukee, Brewer General Manager Harry Dalton, who had been fined $50,000 by owners earlier in the year for his comments on the negotiations told UPI: "If you can tell me we're going to play tomorrow, that's good. There's always hope. There always has to be hope."
The postponement of the strike is definitely good news to the front offices of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Cleveland Indians. Both clubs should profit nicely at the gate this weekend, the Dodgers entertaining the Reds and the Indians hosting the Yankees.
"A club like the Indians can't afford to lose that much revenue," said Stone. "This will be a good weekend series for them."