It now seems more fact than rumor, more likelihood than possibility.
Baseball’s All-Star Game at Minneapolis July 16 is definitely in jeopardy. The Major League Players Assn., frustrated by lack of progress in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement, seems to regard an All-Star boycott as an appropriate response.
It was discussed during last week’s meeting of the union’s executive board in Chicago and apparently has been gaining support as Executive Director Donald Fehr polls the players on strike authorization.
Said an Angel regular and union activist who requested anonymity: “There’s a strong possibility the All-Star Game won’t be played. I’d say that one of two things has to happen (for the game to be played). The owners have to make some substantive proposals or they have to agree to put the all-star receipts in an escrow fund that neither side could touch until there is an agreement.
“We aren’t going to play a game that will put money in the owners’ pockets when they refuse to negotiate in good faith.”
Said Don Baylor, the Yankee designated hitter and league player representative: “If the players want to walk out on the All-Star Game and resume playing three days later, that’s become a genuine possibility. I’d say that the All-Star Game is in jeopardy.”
It is presumed that an All-Star Game boycott would not be the players’ only reaction.
They are known to have discussed a continuation of the boycott at the start of the second half of the season, as well as a September strike threatening the playoffs and World Series.
Union and owner representatives will hold their first negotiating session since May 20 here today.