Philadelphia Daily News - April 3, 1980
A Matter of Dollars and Sense
By Bill Conlin
CLEARWATER – Larry Bowa asked Ruly Carpenter if the Phillies' owner would consider flying the team north tomorrow to continue spring training at the Vet. "Some of the guys are running out of money," the player representative said on day one of the mini-strike.
Ruly politely told his shortstop that workouts would continue at Jack Russell Stadium, hopefully for the full squad, rich and poor alike. This was after the owner ordered clubhouse manager Kenny Bush to put all club-owned equipment – bats, uniforms. batting tees, warmup jackets and such – under lock and key.
All of the guys who are running out of money – mostly youngsters like Scott Munninghoff, Dickie Noles, Luis Aguayo and Kevin Saucier – and all of the guys who still have a stack high enough for Pete Rose to jump over were paid their spring training stipends a week in advance on Monday. Each player received $376.25, which breaks down to $53.75 a day. Six days of that amount – $322.50 – will be deducted from the players next paycheck. Between next Monday and the next payday, April 15, the players will be on their own.
I don't think that would elicit much sympathy from an auto worker who's been laid off for two months or a newspaperman who's been through a six-month strike.
THE PHILLIES’ FINANCIAL plight – Pete Rose doesn't even have a credit card, honest – evoked zero sympathy from Mark Robinson, patriarch of the Jack Russell Stadium Robinsons.
The Robinsons, about a dozen strong, have run the ballpark concession stand for 24 years. They are some of the little people who have been kicked in the groin by the Players Association decision to strike the remainder of the exhibition season.
"This knocks hell out of us," said. Mark Robinson, who optimistically opened one window of the stand behind first base in hopes a few curiousity seekers would drift by to watch the Oklahoma City farmhands scrimmage. "Sunday with the Pirates would have been the biggest day of the season.
"We were counting on a $30,000 gross for the remaining five games here. We figured on selling 4,000 hot dogs Sunday and 3,500 tomorrow for the Red Sox, plus beverages, sandwiches, souvenirs, programs. I just talked to our roll man on the phone. He's really taking the pipe. He supplies seven ballparks over here."
The Clearwater High School Band, one of America's largest and best equipped, thanks to revenue from the ballpark parking concession, won't be too thrilled, either. The lots would have netted about $10,000 over the final five games. That's enough for 76 trombones and a trip to River City.
LITTLE PEOPLE GETTING hurt. Isn't that what strikes are all about?
The City of Clearwater estimates the strike will cost it about $6,000, its 10 percent share of gate receipts, plus a slice of the concession take. Multiply that by 26 spring training sites and you have a loss of $156,000, about the annual salary of a veteran utility player.
"I wish the clubs would realize what the cities go through to get baseball here and what it does to them not to finish the season," said Dunedin Mayor Cecil Englebert. "I guess the players and teams have other things to think about, but it's important to us for attracting people." Particularly well-heeled Canadians, who have been flocking to the Clearwater area since the Blue Jays set up shop in Dunedin.
Oh. well, when the Phillies vote on how to split up the World Series money, maybe they'll award Mark Robinson and the Clearwater High School Band a half share.
There was still some confusion when the team buses from Cocoa arrived at the ballpark shortly after noon. The players were told that nothing would be official until Carpenter received a directive in writing from owners' chief negotiator Ray Grebey outlining their official position. So Pete Rose got in his Porsche Turbo Carrera and led a procession of high-priced vehicles out of the players' parking lot.
IT DID NOT REMIND one of Dust Bowl Okies rattling toward California, although Bowa could pass for Tom Joad.
Carpenter met briefly with the press at the club's hotel headquarters shortly after the arrival of the official Telex message.
"The Phillies will comply with the player-management directive I've just received," Ruly said. "I will meet with the players at the ballpark tomorrow morning at 10 to go over our position. Workouts will be held for players who care to take part in them under the supervision of our manager and coaches. The workouts are voluntary. Players who stay down here to work out will pay for all their expenses. Players who leave before the ballclub breaks camp on Wednesday will do so at their own expense. The ballclub will provide transportation Wednesday for those players who stay until then.
"I'm pleased the players chose not to strike the regular season. I can't comment on the players' decision to take action at this time. We'll probably play intra-squad games the rest of the time we're here. My hope is they will all stay in Florida and work out as a team. As far as squad cuts go, we'll go along just as if they were playing exhibition games."
Until Bowie Kuhn told them to shut up and unlock the gates, several owners were screaming for a lockout.
You'll never collect your $40,000 a day strike insurance that way, dummies.
"I don't know what to do," said Munninghoff, a kid who toiled for Double-A wages last season. "I'll wait to see what happens at the meeting."
Munninghoff will discover that no player who ever worked for the Carpenters had to raise bail on his own, missed a meal or a mortgage payment. It is called paternalism and that "we care for our own" aspect of baseball is rapidly being legislated from the game.
And if any player is starving by next Wednesday, Mark Robinson is up to his eyebrows in hot dog rolls.
Phils Were Bad Medicine for Bannister
By Bill Conlin
The Phillies kept sending Alan Bannister to Temple Hospital for X rays. The lab technicians loved that, because Bannister was young and lean and Hollywood handsome.
Bannister hated it. but was too polite to argue.
"The time I spent in Philly wasn't long,” Bannister recalled the other day. "I don't have a basketful of memories.”
"Starting in center field, opening day. 1975. Shea Stadium. I remember that. They treated me reasonably well, but I had an arm problem and they took it much too much for granted.
"Five X rays. They took five X rays a basketful of basketful and all they did was pat me on the back and say. ‘OK.’ I'm not gonna name names, because the guy is gone.
"But it cost me a job. They made a trade for a centerfielder and I was gone.
"I don’t look back and say I wish things were different. I just think more could have been done medically.
"I'm the first one to admit. I shouldn't play shortstop in front of Larry Bowa and I shouldn't play center in front of Garry Maddox. I asked to be traded and they traded me."
THEY TRADED HIM to the White Sox in the Jim Kaat deaL He was one of a fistful of promising young prospects (John Stearns. Rick Boserti, Jerry Martin. Jim Morrison) who never got a real shot at making it with the Phillies.
Bannister could always run and he could hit and he could catch the ball. He had that curious way of throwing. though, like a guy flipping pebbles at a second-story window.
Why didn't he tell them his arm hurt, no matter what the X rays appeared to say?
"I was too young and green," he said. "I didn’t know what was supposed to be, or whether I had the right to complain.
"I might have gone to college. I might have been smart. But In some things I was ignorant. How tough is it to read X rays?
"Besides, I grew up believing you put your trust in two people. One is an airline pilot. The other is a doctor. If they can’t do it, you can't do it for them."
So his career in Philadelphia crash-landed. Why weren't the Phil lies more patient, more understanding, more thorough? They had drafted Bannister on the first round, they had handed him a big signing bonus.
"THERE'S NOT enough communication." Bannister said thoughtfully. "Between the people who pull the strings and the players.
"A player will sit there and say, 'I'm getting shafted and you never tell me why.’
"We had an instance here recently. They played a guy 10 innings in a B game at first base. Then they put him on a plane, flew him to Miami, where he played the outfield.
"Normally, he's a third baseman. He wondered, why am I playing 19 innings in spring training? Nineteen innings at two positions Tve never played before? "
"The ballclub could tell him. "We've got some people interested in you and we want to showcase you.
"Instead, he's sitting there thinking, "They're trying to wear me out, make me look bad.'
"The game hasn't changed enough. Management doesn't realize that players are too smart now, they question too much.
"In ‘78 I had arm surgery in August. I came to spring training that year, and they found out what was wrong with me.
"But they didn't allow me to have the surgery until August. I couldn't play shortstop with the shoulder problem, but I could play left, center, right.
"WHEN IT CAME time to negotiate a new contract, the owner said, 'I lost you for a year.' "I said, 'You didn’t lose me... I sat there on the bench. I think a team should have two or three doctors. Let the player get other opinions.
"The way it is now, the way it is in the Bill Walton case, is one guy against the athlete."
Bannister rebounded from that gimpy 78 season last year. Hit.285, played 7 positions, stole 22 bases in 25 tries, led the White Sox in triples with 8.
Let the record show that Jim Morrison hit 14 homers for Chicago in 240 at bats, freed at last from Danny Ozark's withering scowl.
"In Philly," Morrison said, "the minor league managers had faith in me. That's important to me.
"In Philly, I was trying to learn to play second base. I had nine at-bats in two months, played four innings. I wondered if I could play.
"I felt I wasnt a.159 hitter. At first, in Chicago, I struggled like a dog. Then (manager) Tony LaRussa said, 'Relax, do what you can do.'
"I look at our talent, we don't have the talent the Phillies have. I think our average time in the big leagues is 1.2 years. But we played.500 the last 50 games and 34 of those were against Boston, New York, California and Kansas Qty."
THE WHITE SOX’ roster is cluttered with young guys on one-year contracts for small bucks. The owner is big on imagination, short on cash.
"This is the year I'd like to be player rep," Bannister said before baseball's labor problems came to a head with a players strike vote this week. "We've got too many young guys who don’t understand the issues."
Bannister has a new wife, a new outlook and a thorough understanding of the way the game is played, on and off the field.
"LaRussa's philosophy," he said, "is to create as much competition as possible. That makes everybody hustle, keeps the attitude good and strong.
"So he's got a lot of players at each position. They've got a good shortstop, but they like me at shortstop.
"Platooning shortstops is not a good idea. I dont want to be part of that They've got me in the infield because they're trying to round out the outfield.
"I hit.300 against righthanders, .250 against lefthanders. If they DH me against lefthanders, there'll be some squawking.
"I feel like I've got a role. Offensively, I'm as good as anybody we've got."
And now. the Phillies are balking at paying Garry Maddox what he's asking for. They are peeking around for a centerfielder. The irony is not lost on Jerry Martin, Rick Bosetti or Alan Bannister.
Strike Spurs Disorderly Conduct
NEW YORK (UPI) – The San Francisco Giants have learned that workers on strike don't do their only walking on the picket line.
After playing an exhibition game with the San Diego Padres in Yuma, Ariz.. Tuesday, the Giants received word that the Major League Players Association had voted to strike the rest of spring training but go ahead with the opening of the season.
The team was supposed to move on to Palm Springs, Cal., but when word of the strike reached San Francisco General Manager Spec Richardson, he ordered the team buses to go on to Palm Springs without the players. Stranded in Yuma, the Giants had to find their own way home.
Confusion like this seemed to be the underlying theme yesterday throughout major league baseball's training camps.
The Players Association, its contract talks with the owners still at an impasse, voted Tuesday not to play any more exhibition games but agreed to open the season next Wednesday and continue to play until May 22. If a basic agreement is not signed by then, the players said they would strike on May 23.
The Players Association and the Player Relations Committee will continue their contract talks in New York on Thursday.
"I'm confused," said Cincinnati Reds catcher Don Werner from Tampa, Fla., echoing the sentiments of many players. "I thought it (a strike) would be now or later, not both."
"RUN THAT PAST me again," said Reds pitcher Tom Seaver. "I don’t understand. Maybe the idea is to make it as big a mess as you can. It doesn't make sense, but I guess there must be reasons."
Adding to the confusion was the owners' decsion to allow the players to continue to use spring training facilities for team workouts. The owners, however, have cut out meal money and hotel expenses so each player is working out at his own expense.
Much of the loss in expenses was being made up by the Players Association, however. Each year the Players Association gives each member of the association approximately $1,700 for promotional work. This money is usually paid later in the season but the Association has decided to give it to the players now to help them with expenses until the start of the regular season next week.
Most of the clubs took advantage of the open camps yesterday to hold full scale workouts. The New York Yankees. Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants. Baltimore Orioles. St Louis Cardinals, Cleveland Indians. Oakland A's. Seattle Mariners and the Reds all went through long workouts under managerial supervision. Only the New York Mets and the Montreal Expos reported a disappointing turnout for their workouts.
AT THE EXPOS' training camp in Daytona Beach none of the team members worked out but at least a dozen players indicated they would like to, so long as the workouts were not supervised.
Expos' management, however, insists that all workouts be supervised by Manager Dick Williams and his coaches. Player representative Steve Rogers was to meet with management later yesterday to see if the problem could be resolved.
Most of the New York Mets' players also refused to work out and only seven players remained behind at their St. Petersburg training facility.
Things were a bit chaotic at the Yankees camp in Fort Lauderdale, but the majority of the team did participate in workouts. Only outfielder Lou Piniella and infielder Fred Stanley were among the missing as Manager Dick Howser put his squad through a "helter skelter" workout.
"Well be better organized tomorrow," said Howser.
Reggie Jackson, the team's player representative, addressed the team in a morning clubhouse meeting and club owner George Steinbrenner then met with the players to explain his position. Steinbrenner said he was bound by certain guidelines bat that he would allow them access to the field.