There was no proposal, no progress, no anything in the baseball negotiations today. Representatives for the owners and the players met for more than three hours but for only an hour face to face.
To the unbelieving who listened with raised eyebrows to markedly similar accounts from all participants and said, "You mean you did nothing for three hours?" Marvin Miller, executive director of the players association, replied: "You try to explain things, you try to make convincing arguments. You're not always successful."
While the talks go on without apparent movement except in the direction of Rochester -- where the parties will meet again in court Wednesday -- it's business as usual at the parks.
Nearly 1 million people went out to the ballpark last weekend, perhaps thinking it would be their last chance for a while, and spent $4,962,415, not including what they paid for their peanuts, hot dogs, scorecards and parking places. That potential loss in ticket revenue was averted by the voluntary extension of the strike deadline, which had been set for May 29.
The largest-drawing series in the American League was in Cleveland, between the Yankees and the Indians: 159,872 persons attended the four games. It is estimated that the seris will gross close to $1 million, for tickets and concessions. After subtracting 30 percent for costs -- not including player salaries -- the Indians would have lost a net of $700,000 if the series had not been played.
The Orioles and the Tigers were the second biggest draw in the AL last weekend, attracting 102,515.
Bob aylward, the director of business affairs for the Orioles, estimates that the Orioles would have lost a gross of $125,000 to $130,000 per game in ticket sales and concessions.
Aylward estimates that each fan spends between $2-$3 at the concession stands in Baltimore, although the team only nets $1 of that.
The players association estimates total season revenues for the 26 clubs at between $350 million and $400 million.
That is an enormous figure, but not one that is necessarily "out of the ballpark," said Vince Nauss, assistant director of information in the commissioner's office.
Figure it this way: attendance in the major leagues last year was 43 million. The average ticket price this year is $4.98. Since there is no indication that attendance is dropping, if you multiply attendance by the ticket price, you get a season ticket revenue of about $210 million.
Add to that $90 million, the amount Broadcasting Magazine says major league baseball will receive this year for local and national television and radio rights.
Add another $50 million for concessions, figuring that the clubs net only $1 per fan, and you're up to $350 million.
The players' losses would be staggering, too. Although there is no official figure on the average 1981 salary, the players association estimates that it will be $170,000. That means the players would lose $4.5 million a week during a strike, or $642,441.86 a day.
Dave Winfield of the Yankees, who earns $1.4 million a year, could lose $8,139.53 for each day he manned a picket line.
So, when people talk about a costly strike, you know they're not kidding.
If there is a strike, it is unlikely that it would come before next weekend, at the earliest.
After today's meetings adjourned, federal mediator Kenneth E. Moffett said he would not schedule any meetings for Tuesday but said that he might schedule some for Rochester, where the parties will convene Wednesday morning to begin hearings on the National Labor Relations Board petition for an injunction.
The NLRB has requested an injunction that would prevent the owners from implementing their free agent compensation plan until next spring, and which would give the players the right over that issue a year from today if no negotiated settlement can be found in the interim. If the injunction requested is denied by Judge Henry F. Werker, the players have the right to strike no earlier than 24 hours or later than 48 hours after the ruling.
Doug DeCinces, the American League player representative, who attended the meetings along with Oriole player representative Mark Belanger, said, "We'll have to see what happens in Rochester. That's the key now."
"We've avoided one strike and we'd like to avoid another," Belanger said.
"But that doesn't mean we won't if we have to," DeCinces said.
As one owner said, "I expect them to go on staring at each other until the judge acts, then there will be some furious action."
But there was none today. Asked if there had been any change in the situation, one party said, deadpan, "Yeah, Belanger bought coffee."