Allentown Morning Call - April 4, 1980

Phillies vote to remain a Florida family


By Jack McCallum, Call Sports Writer


CLEARWATER, Fla. – Mike Schmidt stepped out into the bright sunshine yesterday morning as a group of reporters looked on anxiously, trying to, read Schmidt's face. 


"Well, let's clear the damn field," said Schmidt. "We got some baseball to play." 


Yes, fans, if it makes you feel any better, the Philadelphia Phillies voted yesterday – in the best family tradition of the Andersons, the Nelsons and the Cleavers, not to mention the Pittsburgh Pirates – to stay together in Florida and practice, despite the fact that they will receive no further compensation until the beginning of the regular season next week. 


"We thought that the important thing was to stay together," said Larry Bowa, shortstop turned player representative and now a shortstop again. "It was strictly on an individual basis but no one was against the idea of staying. We all thought it was best." 


The apparently unanimous vote to stay (no reporters were allowed in the team meeting which lasted about 30 minutes) confirmed what most observers felt would be the Phillies' course of action. But with the sudden breaking of a few other baseball camps in the nearby area (the Mets in St. Petersburg and the Blue Jays in Dunedin) no one was completely sure. 


Yesterday morning's meeting began at 10 o'clock with a few words from Phillie owner Ruly Carpenter. Carpenter then left the meeting to the players and met with the press. 


"I merely went over the directive (from the owners' Players Relation Committee) and told the players I had to comply with it," said Carpenter. "Then I told them that I had read about the problems in the other camps and said we didn't want that here because it was bad for the organization and bad for baseball. 


"Then I talked briefly about 1976 (that was the year of the spring training lockout by the owners while a new contract was negotiated) and how the Phillies stayed together during that crisis and came out of the chute strong. It was the year of our first divisional title and that start had a lot to do with it. I told them that it was my sincere hope that they stay together as a unit but that there was nothing I could do if they didn't." 


Well, there was one thing Carpenter could do, and did. He closed Veterans Stadium for workouts until Thursday, the day before the opening of the regular season against Montreal. So, that alternative was taken away from the players if any wanted to head north to stay in shape.


"It was very simple why I did it," said Carpenter. "My manager and my coaches are down here and this is the only place where official workouts can take place." 


Mintues later, the team meeting was over and the players, all in uniform and all present and accounted for, came out. of the clubhouse and took the field. 


Bowa was asked if he agreed with the owner directives which included the cutting off of all expenses immediately and another clause which ordered players to be in shape Opening Day according to the stipulations of the last basic agreement. 


"Look, whatever we didn't agree with amounted to no big thing," said Bowa. "The important thing is that we're all out here. I think we've got a different type owner than a lot of teams. We're behind him (Ruly). And whatever program Dallas (manager Dallas Green) sets up, we're going to follow." 


That program, according to Green, will be similar to the one the Phillies followed in the two weeks of spring training before the Grapefruit League games began on March 14. 


"We're going to do just what we did over at Carpenter Complex (where the Phillies began their training)," said Green, who was smiling for the first time since the player strike was called Tuesday afternoon. "We'll be going back to basics as well as creating all kinds of game situations. I think we can create enough game-type situations to almost compensate for the absence of regular games against other teams."


Green, however. said he will not play organized intrasquad games. 


"At this point. I'm convinced that the most important thing is the creation of game situations with live pitching," said Green. "That's all we need. There is no way to accelerate the type of work a pitcher gets. If we can get the pitchers throwing enough in these live situations, we'll be all right." 


Green was asked how he reacted psychologically to the players' decision to stay. 


“"I think it's super,” he said. "It shows our guys have some dedication. We set a goal for ourselves in 1980 (presumably, the Eastern Division title)  and this is one ol the ways they're showing me they want to get it.


"How will the Phillie fans react? Well. I hope they realize that the fact we're here means a lot. If it doesn't honestly convince them this team wants to play ball. I don't know what will." 


With that. Green turned away and began directing practice in his booming voice. Gus Hoefling was leading the team in group calisthenics and general manager Paul Owens was walking around, smiling, slapping people on the shoulders and forgetting their names. It looked like any other day in spring training as some fans sat in the sun and watched the drills. 


"Is this all they 're going to do all day?" a youngster complained to his father.


If he only knew how grateful the Phillies' management was that they were doing this much. 


NOTES: In a move that surprised absolutely no one, Nino Espinosa was placed on the 21-day disabled list. He comes off April 24, the day before St. Louis comes to Veterans Stadium for a three-game series… At the same time, the Phillies have delayed placing relief pitcher Warren Brusstar on the D.L. until he sees a noted shoulder specialist, Dr. William Granna. It is just a coincidence that Granna is located in Oklahoma City, the site of the Phillies' Triple-A farm team and the projected outpost for Brusstar this season.

Baseball hopes Easter Bunny will bring it a settlement


By Hal Bock, AP Sports Writer


NEW YORK – Outside, on a busy midtown Manhattan street, two models dressed as Easter bunnies handed out chocolate eggs and jelly beans while a Dixieland band serenaded New Yorkers stranded by the city 's mass transit strike. 


Inside, negotiators for management and the players attacked the baseball strike without benefit of those springtime goodies. 


They did have federal mediator Kenneth Moffett, however, and he presided over two hours of meetings that he called "fruitful." 


Moffett and the two sides set up a schedule of seven meetings over the next three weeks in an effort to settle the dispute that wiped out the final 92 games of the spring training exhibition season and threatens to interrupt the regular season just before Memorial Day. 


The first meeting is scheduled for next Tuesday one day before the start of the regular season. The players, who halted exhibition play starting Wednesday, have agreed to return for the openers but vowed to walk out again if an agreement is not reached by midnight, May 22.


"The mere fact that the parties have agreed to a schedule of meetings is a good sign," Moffett said. "I'd say we made progress and that it was a fruitful meeting." 


But the two sides did not discuss issues on Thursday, only dates and logistics for future talks. 


"This was an agenda-setting day and we look forward to the bargaining," said Ray Grebey, chief negotiator for management. "You know we said way back before this all started that we felt baseball could be played and negotiations could take place in parallel and we'll go ahead from there." 


Marvin Miller, executive director of the Major League Players Association, seemed hopeful. 


"We have seven weeks and we'll do our best." Miller said. "The action of the players in Dallas Tuesday set the stage for this." 


Part of the explanation the players offered when they announced their dual-date strike was that they wanted to leave sufficient time for bargaining. 


Miller said Thursday's meeting took the form of updating as well as schedule-setting. 


"We reviewed where we are and gave formal notification of the action the board took," the union leader said. "There was some small discussion of what is going on in spring training now." 


That seems to vary from camp to camp. Some teams have continued informal workouts with players who remained on hand while others are biding their time, waiting for Opening Day.


The New York Yankees, most of whom remained in the team's Fort Lauderdale, base, refused Manager Dick Howser's request that they play intrasquad games this weekend. The value of such contests is to have pitchers work in game conditions. But Howser was not upset. 


"I can understand their feeling," Howser said. "I never liked intrasquad games because it's hard to get enthused playing against your own team." 


The 16 Montreal Expos who remained in that team's Daytona Beach, Fla. base at first refused to work out and then reversed themselves and practiced. A dozen Expos have left camp and catcher Gary Carter thought that he knew why. 


"It was a confusing time for everyone because I don't think any of us thought the strike was going to occur like this." Carter said. "I guess a lot of them had predetermined plans. They had made up their minds that if a strike broke, they were going to go home." 


Injured Andre Thornton and Cliff Johnson were the only Cleveland players to pass up that team's workout. 


"I can't see coming to spring training for four weeks and then having everything go down the drain," said Wayne Garland, the Indians' player representative. 


The Chicago White Sox were missing two regulars, outfielder Claudell Washington and infielder Jim Morrison, as well as reserve outfielder Thad Bosley for their workout. 


Manager Gene Mauch talked the Minnesota Twins into staying in camp as a unit.