Angel pitcher Mark Langston blasted acting Commissioner Bud Selig and Angel replacement players Monday in the wake of yet another breakdown in baseball's labor negotiations.
"It's time for (Selig) to hand the reins over to someone else who's more concerned about baseball," Langston, the team's union representative, said by phone from his Anaheim Hills home.
"He asked to be acting commissioner and he's supposed to oversee negotiations. It ticked me off to see him fly home to Milwaukee in the middle of important negotiations (in Arizona last week) because he wasn't happy with the way things were going."
"I don't know when they're going to wake up and realize that none of them are considered prospects," he said. "They've only been hired to undermine something we believe in."
Langston, the Angels' highest-paid player at $5 million a year, conducted a 3 1/2-hour conference call with most players on the team's 40-man roster Sunday night after the Scottsdale strike talks ended in futility.
"The goal of the owners is to break the union, but after talking with the players, they're not going to be able to do it," Langston said. "We're as strong, top to bottom, as we've ever been. I thought I'd hear concerns, especially from the younger players, but they surprised me. They don't want us to give in. They're united and ready to fight."
That fight won't include picket lines at spring training games or harassment of replacement players for now, Langston said. But those issues were discussed Sunday night, and Langston didn't rule out possible actions against the replacements.
"These guys should be as far away from the game as possible when this strike is settled," Langston said. "They may think they're helping us by keeping the game alive, but all they're doing is embarrassing the game."
Langston said any replacements retained by the Angel organization after the strike will have a difficult time in the minor leagues.
"We have guys on the 40-man roster who will play on the double-A and triple-A teams, and they'll make sure everyone else on those teams understands what these guys did," Langston said. "Hopefully, when this is over, they'll get rid of these guys as soon as possible."
Few Angel replacements have illusions about what will happen when the strike ends. Most are career minor leaguers who are in camp for the money and the chance to play again.
But that doesn't justify their actions, Langston said.
"Do they want to live the rest of their lives saying they undercut others to make money?" he said. "If they can look in the mirror and say they're proud of what they're doing, then obviously their intestinal fortitude is not as strong as it should be."
Dion Beck, a former Cal State Fullerton pitcher who is an Angel replacement, said he has no problems looking into the mirror.
"Even if I play in the big leagues, I'm not going to brag that I made it to the big leagues," he said. "I'm a fill-in. I didn't make it like those other guys did. We're not taking anyone's job or food from someone's mouth. We're just filling in for them. It's no big deal. It's all fun."