As the baseball strike wears on, there has been some talk that the solidarity of the players has eroded. Doug DeCines says it's not true.
"You can bet your boots that if the owners are expecting us to break, then they have their hats on the wrong table," said DeCines, the Oriole third baseman and the American League player representative.
"You will always get a few players who will express their opinions in the papers. They are in the minority, a small minority. When we talk to those people, they tell us that they are 100 percent behind us," said DeCines.
The strike is now in its 45th day and it has consumed 526 games. One-fourth of the schedule is gone.
On monday, the player representatives for the 26 teams will meet with Marvin Miller, the executive director of the players association, in Chicago to discuss the strike.
"It will be a general discussion. Questions will be asked," said Mark Belanger, Oriole shortstop and team representative. "We will ask (the player representatives) things like, 'Do you want us to go further? Do you want us to stop? Do you have any problems or questions?' We will not take a vote on anything."
"The purpose is totally to inform the player," DeCines said. "The new blackout made it difficult for us to do that."
The players association also is planning a series of regional meetings in order to brief the players on the status of the negotiations. This could move the bargaining back even further.
"I don't think there is going to be baseball for a long while, yes, perhaps into next season," said Miller. "There has got to be a drastic change somewhere to change that prognosis."
Edward Bennett Williams, the owner of the Orioles, told the Baltimore Sun, "I think Miller has lost control of his union. It's just a personal opinion, but I have to believe that when a negotiator who has always made his own deal has to go back and talk to his group, there is a strong basis for belief that he has a problem controlling his own members."
"It's not true," says DeCines. "Everyone says that Marvin Miller is losing control. The owners are trying to put the fall on Bob (Boone, the National League representative), Marvin and myself.It's a PR thing by Ray Grebey."