The Reggie Jackson watch goes on. While there was feeling in some parts that Jackson, the Yankee free agent, might make a decision as early as today, it could be some time before he decides where to play in 1982.
"They indicated to different people they might do something by Wednesday," said Hank Peters, the general manager of the Orioles, "but they haven't said that to us." Peters expects to talk with Jackson's agent today.
Edward Bennett Williams, the owner of the Orioles, said: "I don't think anybody has any deadlines . . . We don't go to camp until Feb. 18(when pitchers and catchers report)."
Jackson, and his agent, Gary Walker, will meet today with Buzzie Bavasi, the general manager of the California Angels. The meeting will take place in Phoenix, where Walker works.
"If the Yankees show an interest in signing Jackson, the Angels will pull out of the negotiations," Bavasi said in a statement. "If they do not, we'll plunge into the negotiations and make every attempt to sign him."
Bavasi said earlier that the Angels' offer to Jackson would include an incentive clause based on attendance. "Jackson knows the guidelines," the statement said. "Tomorrow we'll try to put some figures inside the guidelines."
The incalculable element in all this is George Steinbrenner, the owner of the Yankees, who has been unavailable for comment. A spokesman for the Yankees said Steinbrenner had told him that somebody from the club talked with Jackson's agent yesterday, but no information was available.
Walker could not be reached for comment.
One source close to the negotiations said: "I doubt if anybody knows anything but George Steinbrenner. Talk to Steinbrenner. If he tells you that he is going to make a sincere offer, then Reggie will probably be back in New York. If he doesn't, it'll probably be Baltimore or the Angels. I don't put much stock in Atlanta."
The Yankees had not made Jackson an offer as of Monday. If and when Steinbrenner makes an offer, that could prolong negotiations. Jackson will be in Florida this weekend doing commentary for ABC at the Superstars competition.
You can make a good case why Jackson would be interested in playing for either the Orioles or the Angels. "I think Reggie is attracted to the idea of playing for a contender in a city where he has family roots, and he loves Earl Weaver," Williams said.
"It is not impossible that he will go with us at a lower salary," Williams added. "It is worth something to him to play (full time). He will not play full time in New York."
"Jackson wants to play here (in California)," said Arthur (Red) Patterson, assistant to Angels owner Gene Autry. "He has so stated. We're taking him at his word, which we value. He wants to get into radio and TV later, which we can help him with because we're in it."