Angels Lose To Mariners and Predict a Hostile Strike
The Angels may have been back on the field Thursday, but they proclaimed they can no longer trust baseball ownership, and predicted a hostile strike that will endure a minimum of two weeks.
“The two sides now are more apart than ever,” said Angel shortstop Gary DiSarcina, assistant player representative. “I think we’ll be out at least two weeks now. Before, I thought it might be a lot less, but not now.”
The Angels, who lost 4-2 to the Seattle Mariners in front of 12,222 at Anaheim Stadium, chose not to strike today and will wait until Aug. 12. Still, they remain angered at baseball ownership’s decision not to make their scheduled payment to the players’ pension program.
“If we acted out of emotion,” Angel second baseman Harold Reynolds said, “none of us would be here today.”
Said Mark Langston, Angel player representative: “Players were so infuriated, they were ready to walk out now. We’re not about to be bullied by their tactics.
“We’d like to get something done, but right now it’s very difficult for me to see that something will get resolved.”
Much of the Angels’ frustration lies in the fact that they were beginning to trust ownership. Angel owners Gene and Jackie Autry, in fact, even invited Langston and DiSarcina to their hotel suite last week when the team was in Texas. Jackie Autry explained the Angels’ position, insisting a salary cap and revenue sharing is needed to stay competitive.
“We had a good, positive meeting with her,” DiSarcina said, “and she told us how she wants to put collusion and distrust behind. You want to believe, and then, two, three days later, we don’t get our pension.
“It was like gasoline was thrown on the fire. I mean, you sit here and listen to how they talk, how they want to earn our trust, and it’s all (garbage).
“How can you be partners with people that do that, and then screw with our pension plan? That’s money that goes to our families. To play with the players’ families, that goes beyond hardball. That’s dirty.”
Of course, considering the way the Angels (44-65) are playing, the front office wonders if the players are holding up their end of the bargain. The Angels, who have lost 11 of their last 14 games now have the worst record in the American League at a season-low 21 games under .500, their worst record at this juncture since 1969.
Instead of being grateful that the players will continue playing until at least Aug. 12, who could blame management for being irritated they didn’t strike?
“This is the pennant race from hell, and look at us,” Angel General Manager Bill Bavasi said. “It’s very, very frustrating.”
So, someone jokingly asked, he was not disturbed by negotiator Richard Ravitch’s decision to stop pension payments?
“Why would I be (teed) at that,” Bavasi said, “after watching this for (three) days. I wonder if he’s teed at me for putting this thing together.”
Perhaps even more painful is that things could get worse, pending the length of the strike. If the strike lasts the duration of the season, sources say the Angels are projecting losses as $6 million.
“A strike will put us very deep in the red,” said Angel President Richard Brown, declining to be specific. “Just say it will cost us lots and lots of money.
“Baseball is bigger than the players. It’s bigger than the owners. It’s going to survive somehow, it’s just a matter of how many casualties (the strike) will take with them.”
In the meantime, the Angels must abide by the Major League Players Assn.'s decision, and continue to play games until the strike. They managed to lose their latest game when pinch-hitter Eric Anthony hit a pinch-hit two-run homer in the eighth inning off closer Mark Leiter, and a 2-1 lead became a 4-2 defeat.