Dodgers Facing Riddle Without Even First Clue : Reaction: As the players clear out their lockers, some are bitter about owners’ position.
Orel Hershiser was seated on a table in the Dodger clubhouse Friday morning next to his son, Quinton, when he was asked his prognosis of the players’ strike.
“The patient is sick,” Hershiser replied. “You have a billion-dollar industry and you can’t work.”
Quinton, who had stumped reporters for about 15 minutes with a game of riddles, thought his dad was still playing the game.
“Is that a new one?” he asked.
There is little that is new, though, about the first day of baseball’s eighth work stoppage.
“Are you taking most everything or leaving most everything?” Jim Gott asked Eric Karros, as they loaded carts with bats, spikes and even some of Gott’s karate equipment.
“There has been so much time since 1981 and now, and I think the thing that bothers me the most is that (the owners) look down on us so much, like we are a Third World country or something,” Gott said.
“I honestly believe that the issues we are dealing with are the same as they were in 1985 and each year we’ve come back and extended the basic agreement at the end, but they are the same exact issues,” Gott said. “They have never been happy and we’ve been happier than them and haven’t wanted to give up the status quo. The only resolution is for them to open the books.”
Tom Candiotti, whose last non-baseball job was shoveling crushed gypsum at a boat dock, said he could get another job if he had to.
“Most of us have come from a background where things weren’t handed to us, so we can do that again,” he said.
“The change (the owners want) is so drastic, and when they say, ‘It’s my way or the highway,’ it’s a bad feeling and there is no compromise to be had. . . . You get a bad, rotten feeling, and combine that with (being) an athlete that is used to being competitive day in and day out and doesn’t back down from a challenge. I’ve tried to be cool-headed about it, but the attitude is that if there is no salary cap, there is no compromise. I see the strike lasting because we are not going to accept that.”
The players trickled into the clubhouse, Karros among the first to arrive. “It hasn’t hit me yet,” he said. “Right now, it just seems like an off-day--probably Saturday or the next day.”
Ismael Valdes, the only player the Dodgers sent to the minors with the strike in mind, had a renewed spirit about the situation. He hadn’t looked happy on Thursday, when he was told he would be sent to the Dodgers’ triple-A team in Albuquerque so he could continue to pitch.
“I had some plans to visit my family (in Mexico) on my mind, and when they told me, those plans were suddenly gone,” Valdes said. “But I thought about it last night, and I think I am lucky because I love to play baseball and with the strike on, I will still get paid.”
Valdes, who made $595.63 a day on the major league roster, will be paid $157.92 a day at Albuquerque.
For the Dodgers, being in first place in the National League West makes this strike bittersweet. The players have been told by the union not to work out as a group, but some wish they could.
“We have to keep ourselves in shape, however we do it individually, because some of us were talking, and we remember what it was like when we went to Taiwan on the tour (last fall) after being off for three weeks, and we were embarrassed,” Gott said.
“We only won one game out of five and the people over there were saying, ‘We didn’t know we were this close to having a true World Series.’ And we were thinking, ‘You have to be kidding me.’ ”
Hershiser said there is time to salvage the season, or at least the playoffs.
“It’s been a competitive season and you could crown everybody right now,” Hershiser said. “To restart and have a pennant race, you would have to have two or three weeks of playing time. But you could start with the postseason if you had to, which would be a better alternative than canceling it, although I probably wouldn’t be saying that if we were one game out.
“I think it would be a big mistake to not have a postseason. There has been a World Series every year since 1905 that world wars or labor negotiations haven’t stopped. I don’t think anybody wants to be a part of that. There would be books written about it and probably a movie made. At this point, it would be a sci-fi.”
Meanwhile, 9-year-old Quinton says having his father home in the summer is fun, but different.
“Sometimes it feels weird to have him around because I’m so used to him being at the ballpark,” Quinton said. “It’s really fun having him around, but I’m used to him coming home about 11 at night and he comes in and says good night when you don’t even know it. And I’m used to going in and saying goodby to him in the morning because I’m going to camp or something. And now, I get to eat breakfast with him.”
No Work, No Pay
How much money Dodger and Angel players will lose each day. Figure in parentheses is the 1994 salary.
* Brett Butler: $19,125.68 ($3.5 million)
* Tom Candiotti: $18,579.23 ($3.4 million)
* Tim Wallach: $18,032.79. ($3.3 million)
* Orel Hershiser: $16,393.44 ($3 million)
* Kevin Gross: $14,754.10 ($2.7 million)
* Delino DeShields: $14,754.10 ($2.7 million)
* Ramon Martinez: $14,685,79 ($2,687,500)
* Todd Worrell: $10,928.96 ($2 million)
* Jim Gott: $9,836.07 ($1.8 million)
* Cory Snyder: $7,377.19 ($1.35 million)
* Roger McDowell: $6,830.69 ($1.25 million)
* Eric Karros: $3,551.92 ($650,000)
* Mike Piazza: $3,278.69 ($600,000)
* Mitch Webster: $3,005.46 ($550,000)
* Jeff Treadway: $2,732.24 ($500,000)
* Pedro Astacio: $2,049.18 ($325,000)
* Dave Hansen: $1,502.73 ($275,000)
* Chris Gwynn: $1,502.73 ($275,000)
* Carlos Hernandez: $1,448.09 ($265,000)
* Henry Rodriguez: $967.21 ($177,000)
* Rudy Seanez: $819.67 ($150,000)
* Omar Daal: $803.28 ($147,000)
* Rafael Bournigal: $732.24 ($134,000)
* Raul Mondesi: $688.52 ($126,000)
* Chuck Finley: $19,125.68 ($3.5 million)
* Mark Langston: $17,759.56 ($3.25 million)
* Chili Davis: $13,114.77 ($2.4 million)
* Joe Magrane: $8,196.72 ($1.5 million)
* Spike Owen: $5,464.48 ($1 million)
* Bo Jackson: $5,464.48 ($1 million)
* Joe Grahe: $5,054.64 ($925,000)
* Greg Myers: $3,825.14 ($700,000)
* Chad Curtis: $3,278.69 ($600,000)
* Tim Salmon: $3,278.69 ($600,000)
* Bob Patterson: $2,185.79 ($400,000)
* Gary DiSarcina: $2,185.79 ($400,000)
* Mark Leiter: $2,185.79 ($400,000
* John Dopson: $2,185.79 ($400,000)
* Rex Hudler: $1,502.73 ($275,000)
* Harold Reynolds: $1,256.83 ($230,000)
* J.T. Snow: $1,092.90 ($200,000)
* Damion Easley: $928.96 ($170,000)
* Jeff Schwarz: $819.67 ($150,000)
* Phil Leftwich: $765.03 ($140,000)
* Chris Turner: $683.06 ($125,000)
* Brian Anderson: $655.73 ($120,000)
* Russ Springer: $655.74 ($120,000)
* Jim Edmonds: $639.34 ($117,000)
* Mark Dalesandro: $595.63 ($109,000)
NOTE: The Dodgers’ Jose Offerman signed a guaranteed two-year, $2.115-million contract in the spring and is making $515,000 this season playing for the Albuquerque Dukes. He will make $1.6 million next year. Ismael Valdes, who made $109,000, or $595.63 a day, on the major league roster, will be paid at contract rate of $28,900, or $157.92 a day playing for the Dukes in accordance with his split contract. He was sent down after Thursday’s game.