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VIEWPOINT / FANS STRIKE BACK : This Time, Baseball Must Keep the Faith

July 30, 1985

At 72 years of age, I can look back on a lifetime of pleasure derived from being a baseball fan. That may soon change abruptly. If so, it will be a case, in my family, of history repeating itself.

I have had the same box seats at Dodger Stadium from the day it opened and stoutly refute the oft-repeated charge that the only true fans are bleacherites.

My introduction to this wonderful sport took place in Chicago at Wrigley Field and Comiskey Park. My grandfather had a box at both places and enjoyed the game hugely until 1919. That year, the White Sox (the Black Sox) threw the World Series to Cincinnati. My grandfather never entered a baseball stadium again.

I naturally do not compare the pending strike with the throwing of the World Series. However, it is in its way a basic violation of a trust mutually held and enjoyed by the owners and the players.

I do not propose to take sides. It is, however, crystal clear that if the parties cannot come to an agreement there is no viable alternative but to settle the matter during the off-season. There is no other way to keep the faith.

If this does not turn out to be the case, I may well follow the example set by my grandfather. My judgment is that I will be part of a very large army. The fans hold the final power to strike.

ARMAND S. DEUTSCH

Los Angeles

Who cares about the interests of overpaid major league punks when they continue to insult us fans with their actions? Andujar's refusal to play in the All-Star game, those no-shows at the Minneapolis children's hospital, Howe's incessant whining, and Carew's game-losing lack of hustle are all current examples of baseball's cancer. It is time to excise the rot.

I am tired of paying for their "chemical" habits and ostentatious hobbies in order for them to find sanctuary from the pressures of their "work." If they want more for their retirement funds, let them raise fines to the level of punishment and not the license that current fines represent.

My love for baseball is at present inversely proportional to the arrogance of the players and the coddling they receive from both owners and the commissioner. It is sad that the players are too wimpish to police their own by effecting a little peer pressure, without which they are all culpable.

It is equally sad that I am finding more enjoyment booing than cheering.

JESSE M. GOAD II

Santa Barbara

May I suggest that someone better remind the strike-bound ballplayers that excessive and unreasonable union demands have already cost thousands of American workers in the steel and auto industries their jobs--and unless affluent major leaguers understand the elementary principle of risk capital, our national pastime is eventually doomed.

Perhaps it's just as well to return to Square 1 without the help of agents, unions and strike threats. I think I see nods of approval from Connie Mack, Jake Ruppert, John McGraw, Bill Wrigley, Bill Veeck and Walter O'Malley.

BILL RETCHIN

La Quinta

Well, the strike date has been set now, and I am angry. I won't dwell on the merits of men being paid $330,000 to play a boys' game bickering with millionaire owners; neither of those parties really stand to lose anything. The big losers are we, the fans. What can we do? We can sit quietly and wait, or we can unite and voice our feelings. I propose a two-stage course of action:

--A one-day "fan strike" of all games on Saturday, Aug. 3, in every major league city. Go to the beach, go fishing, or play baseball ourselves; just don't go to the stadium.

--If the players do strike, we should strike the rest of the season, effective the date that the owners and players end their strike.

Together we can make a difference.

JAMES KURTENBACH

San Diego

I may only be 12 years old, but I have very strong opinions. I love sports and, frankly, it makes me sick to see players go on strike. They say they should get paid more, but I don't think so, when I consider the facts.

For instance: who holds more importance to a community--a doctor who may save a life a day or a $2-million shortstop who hits .250 and makes some dazzling stops? Now I admit some doctors may be overpaid, but is a simple game as important as life and death?

If I had it in my power, I would organize a fans' union. Every time the players decided to strike, we would strike, too. We could make it very hard for the players to be paid much at all, by making every ballpark's attendance as low as Pittsburgh's.

Being an Angel fan, I would hate to see an August strike take place because the Angels have a decent team this year. I would like to see everything come out all right, and I hope it does.

JESSE PHELPS

Ojai

I think it's time for the owners to get together and decide among themselves that they will pay an X amount of dollars to their players--take it or leave it! Too many clubs are on the verge of bankruptcy and it's time to pull the string.

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