Negotiations for a new stadium for the Angels are progressing, bringing the promise of new revenue and more profits to a team that claims it lost $10 million last year.
But not even the prospect of a cozy new ballpark, plush luxury suites and a more lucrative stadium lease for the Angels can keep the Autry family in baseball.
"Neither Gene nor I have the stomach to deal with a lot of the outside pressures of the game any more," said Jackie Autry, who has run the team for husband and owner Gene Autry since 1986. "If I could just be an owner and deal with what happens between the white lines, it would be a perfect world."
Media criticism, labor disputes and rising costs are among the reasons Autry has decided to sell a minority interest in the team to former baseball commissioner Peter Ueberroth.
Ueberroth is in the process of buying 25% of the team with an option to buy the remaining 75% after the death of Gene Autry, 87. Though he won't initially be the Angels' majority owner, Ueberroth will become managing general partner and take over day-to-day operations of the club.
"It's the perfect situation for both Gene and I," Jackie Autry said. "It allows us to still be associated with the Angels as 75% owners, and all we have to do is come out and enjoy the game."
Autry attended her first spring-training game of the season Friday, watching the Angels defeat the Chicago Cubs, 7-6, before 1,963 in Tempe Diablo Stadium.
She said she "wasn't particularly thrilled about seeing replacement players," but believes their presence will eventually lead to serious negotiations between players and owners to settle the strike.
Autry, who has not been a part of the owners' negotiating committee but has received updates through conference calls, would not speculate on the chances for a settlement before the start of the regular season April 2.
Steve Howe, the striking left-handed reliever who has been working in the Yankees' ticket office this spring, told the New York Daily News he has considered crossing the picket line.
"Am I thinking about crossing today? No. I'll put it to you blunt. Any guy who has told you that he has not thought about going back to work--'crossing' is a bad word--is lying."
Howe, 37, has been at the spring training camp in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., since Feb. 24. He took the job to fulfill conditions of the probation agreement connected with his 1991 arrest and plea bargain for attempting to possess cocaine.
Howe was suspended several times from baseball for substance abuse violations.
Said Dick Moss, Howe's agent: "He's basically a nervous fellow. But those comments don't reflect at all what I know he really feels."
Dave Hollins, Tommy Greene and Curt Schilling were caught sneaking into Jack Russell Stadium in Clearwater, Fla., to use the artificial turf field and covered batting cages. Lenny Dykstra and Bobby Munoz joined them before all were kicked out.
"We sneaked in here," Schilling said. "What are they going to do--fine us? All we're trying to do is stay in shape."
* The Associated Press contributed to this story.