At a time originally set aside for staging the 52nd All-Star Game, parties in the 32-day-old baseball strike instead played a waiting game yesterday, waiting to be recalled to the bargaining table.
Kenneth E. Moffett, the federal mediator whose proposal produced lengthy talks but no settlement over the weekend, said he was waiting for a sign of movement on either side before renewing negotiations. The issue of free-agent compensation remains the source of disagreement.
"It's become obvious that the owners want direct compensation," said Moffett. "The players want anything that will guarantee their mobility and bargaining power."
Despite the breakdown in talks Saturday, Moffett said there still was progress because the players had made significant concessions by dropping their demand that compensation come from a player pool, with signing teams not being hurt directly by the loss of a player.
But Moffett admitted there was little hope for the owners agreeing to his proposal.
"It appears to be dead. . . It takes two to tango," Moffett said.
Major league umpires are beginning to feel the financial squeeze as a result of the strike.
As part of their own strike settlement in 1979, the umpires had received payment for the first 30 days of any strike by the players. That grace period expired over the weekend and now the umpires, like the players, are losing salary for every day the strike continues.
The strike, the longest in major-league history, has forced the cancellation of 392 games and necessitated the postponement of the mid-season showcase.
Since 1933, when the All-Star Game was begun, the major leagues have failed to produce a game only in 1945, when wartime travel restrictions forced the cancellation.
Chuck Adams, a spokesman for the commissioner's office, said no date has been established for playing the game.
"Until we have a resolution of the players strike, we cannot set a specific date," said Adams."The 30th of July is a possibility."
If the game is to be played on that date, the parties would need a setlement in a hurry -- probably within a week. According to a formula established by players and clubs, it would take 12 days to place properly conditioned players on the field, and that time lengthens with additional strike time.
The players have said they would need two to 2 1/2 days for every week on strike and the clubs estimate 24-48 hours for reassembling the players.
Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn announced after discussions yesterday that if the 1981 All-Star Game must be canceled, Cleveland will get the 1982 game instead. "It is our hope that we will play in Cleveland in 1981," Kuhn said in a statement released by the Cleveland Indians. "However, if we cannot . . . it will be played in Cleveland in 1982."
That left the question of a date for Montreal, the scheduled 1982 All-Star site, since the 1983 renewal had been tentatively given to Chicago.
Meantine, Cleveland is not about to let the game's postponement cancel its celebration. Terminal Tower, the city's tallest skyscraper, was to be lit for the first time, with 196 floodlights shining on the 52-story building. An ethnic food festival opened yesterday and a downtown party last night was to be followed by Revolutionary War battle drills.
And at noon today, two Cleveland television producers are to host their own All-Star Game on home plate in Municipal Stadium. The game was to be a Strat-O-Matic version of the real thing, using dice and cards containing computerized date on players' records. Bob Feller, a Hall of Fame player who once pitched for the Indians, was to throw the first die.