The strike nobody wanted lurched into view last night and there was disappointment and frustration expressed by fans and players alike.
Rodney White, 41, who has seen hundreds of Cardinals games since 1953, said that, if there's a strike, he'll never buy another ticket. "I was wrong to have come back after the strike in 1981. I should have stopped then. I have no sympathy for either the owners or the players. There's a little kid inside of every fan who is about to be killed by this."
"It's hard to swallow," said Tommy Herr, the St. Louis Cardinals' second baseman who is having his best season. "But I'll be willing to sacrifice my season for the sake of 600 other guys."
Following instructions from their union, player representative told players not to travel with teams until the strike is settled. When the 1981 strike began, some players had to get home as best they could.
Ed Lynch, the winning pitcher for the Mets yesterday, expressed anger about a strike. "It's just ridiculous to have this situation," he said. "I've never pitched better. I've won five in a row, the team is in first place and now we have to go out.
"We got caught in the middle like the rest of the players.
"I know it's important for the players to show solidarity, and the union was willing to negotiate. There was poor judgment on all parties involved."
Detroit pitcher Jack Morris, scheduled to pitch Thursday in Kansas City, planned to go home to Detroit Wednesday morning.
"I'm going back home regardless," he said. "If I have to get back on a plane at 3 o'clock and have to come back, I'll be tickled pink. I only packed for one day."
"A strike would be hard on everybody," said Bob Buchanan, a rookie reliever with the Cincinnati Reds. "Some people are going to make a vacation out of it. I'm not.
He said he worked at a rental-car office and a department store last winter to supplement his minor-league salary.
"If it's not resolved within a month," he said," I'm going to look for a job. I hope I can find something better than minimum wage."
Kansas City's Frank White said the owners are trying to break the union.
"The objective isn't arbitration or pension," he said. "That's just something to argue about -- it's to break the union."
"I'm getting pretty tired of all this, honestly," Cincinnati player representative Joe Price said.
The New York Yankees prepared for the possible strike by sending rookie outfielder Dan Pasqua, who makes $40,000, to Class AAA Columbus and recalling pitcher Mike Armstrong, who makes about $325,000. If there is a strike, Pasqua and other minor leaguers will be paid; Armstrong and other major leaguers won't.
If there's a strike, the games of the Richmond Braves, AAA club for the Atlanta Braves, and Tidewater Tides, the New York Mets' AAA farm club, again would be televised by the stations that carry their parent clubs.
"I hope there is not a strike for the good of our game, although we would benefit from the TV exposure," Tides General Manager Dave Rosenfield said. "I would rather not benefit and see the game hurt. That's probably not a sound business decision."