"The overwhelming feeling seems to be that the owners have simply acted too quickly in attempting to stem 10 years of free spending. They have demeaned some of their best players, legitimized the view that they care more about money than winning and said to the public, 'Hey, you're so dumb that you'll pay more to see Ken Landreaux than Tim Raines, more to see Marc Sullivan than Rich Gedman.' "
They have also widened the cleavage between clubs and players and helped unite the players at a time when they seemed divided over drug testing and other issues, lacking the solidarity that had originally brought them free agency and other financial gains.
As Fehr noted: "I didn't have to educate Wally Joyner. Mike Port did that for me. I didn't have to educate Joe Carter. Joe Klein did that for me. I didn't have to educate Vince Coleman. Gussie Busch did that for me."
The lessons, Fehr said, will be remembered in 1989, when the current basic agreement expires.
"It's hard to predict the future but if the free market doesn't resurrect itself on its own or through a combination of grievances and other things, then I think the stage is set for a very large confrontation three years from now," he said.