Various Baltimore city officials have put the cost of the 50-day major league baseball players' strike at between $15 to $23 million to the city of regional businesses.
Douglas Tawney, the city parks director in charge of Memorial Stadium, estimated the loss at $15 million.
Chris Hartman, a spokesman for Mayor William Donald Schaefer, put the figure at $23 million, however. City budget officials noted the "ripple effect" of the strike, saying that for every dollar directly lost, several more were lost by businesses along the way.
Tawney said he is not sure whether the money can be recouped and warned that it may be difficult for the American League club to reach the level of attendance it had before the July 12 walkout.
"In the beginning, I think there will be some resentment" on the part of the fans, he said. "before the strike, we were well on our way to getting 2 million," he added, but now the club will be lucky to draw 1.2 million.
Mike Schmidt says the players were the losers in the baseball strike settlement. The Phillies' stlugging third baseman said, "We had something taken away from us that we already had."
Schmidt talked yesterday about the Friday agreement that ended the 50-day major league baseball strike.
"That makes us the losers," declared the 1980 major league home run king who became a weekend television sports commentator during the walkout over the degree of compensation for clubs losing free agents.
"The owners made some gains by getting some things back from the players. Now they have a little bit better policing effect on themselves based on the compensation pool," Schmidt said.
"In most people's minds that seems fine, I think most people wanted to see it that way," Schmidt said. "The fans were the biggest losers, then the players. The owners benefited the most over the long haul . . . They're able now to curb players' salaries. This was their ultimate goal.
"They don't mind playing the premier player big money. They can't stand the high price of mediocrity. The pool (compensation) concept is going to hold down the middle range, the average player's salaries, a great deal. And that's what I think they were after," Schmidt said.
J. R. Richard, struggling a return to baseball after a life-threatening stroke a year ago, might pitch in the Houston Astros' exhibition game against the Texas Rangers next week, officials said.
"It's a possibility, but I'm not going to commit myself now," Astro Manager Bill Virdon said during the weekend. "J. R. will throw batting practice Monday night. If we feel he is far enough along, we might give him a chance against the Rangers. We need pitchers."
The Astros and Rangers will play Thursday at Arlington and Friday in the Astrodome. Richard, who has been on the disabled list all season, said he felt good: "I'm in good physcial condition. My vision has improved. So have my strength and endurance. I've been working a lot with weights."
But he was reticent at first about returning next week.
"I'm not going to say now what I might do next week. Let's wait until then," he said. "I'm not going to go to them and ask to pitch. I think they'd know if I'm ready."
Richard has been trying to come back from the stroke he suffered July 30, 1980, during a light workout at the Astrodome. He underwent surgery the day of the strokle and later to correct a blood vessel problem under his right arm.