Camden Courier-Post - April 8, 1980

Hope for phone call doesn’t materialize


By Ray W. Kelly of the Courier-Post


CLEARWATER, Fla. – A phone call would have been a perfect interruption of a dismal, rainy day. But for some people in the Phillies camp site, the right call never came.


"Hello," said General Manager Paul Owens as he stretched out on the bed of his hotel room. "No, we're not close to anything with that team. Okay, talk to you later."


Another inquiry about the rumored deal that would bring Ken Griffey over from Cincinnati. Only this time, it wasn't Garry Maddox who was supposed to be in the deal. It was pitcher Randy Lerch and catcher Keith Moreland.


Owens took a deep breath. Sure the Reds had asked about both players. But that was over a week ago and there was nothing to it.


"Hell, the Reds' situation with Griffey is the same as ours with Maddox," be said. "Instead of talking trade, mostly we just cried on each other's shoulder."


Almost instinctively, Owens glanced at the phone. The call he wanted to get was from owner Ruly Carpenter telling him there was some additional progress in the Maddox negotiations.


There had been, movement on both sides. We came up a little on Friday night," said Owens. "I thought that might do it.


"But they only came down a little. We're still not compatible. In fact, we're so far apart it isn't even funny."


Now it was Carpenter's turn to wait for a phone call. Maddox' agent Jerry Kapstein said he would get back to the owner So far, no word.


Owens shook his head and said, "If there's no progress by Thursday, we're going to make an effort to move Garry."


Four teams with both the financial resources and need for an $800,000-plus outfielder were already in a holding pattern, having told Owens that "if and when he was ready to deal the centerfielder they wanted a phone call.”


That call wouldn't be made today. In fact, Owens could wait until May 8, when the major league waivers he had on Maddox (which would allow him to trade with an American League team) expired. Within the National League, such a trade could be accomplished as late as June 15.


The importance of that was obvious. For if Maddox and Kapstein held fast to their declaration that they wouldn't negotiate once the season began, Owens would at least have time to evaluate the progress of the team.


If the pitching staff, for example, got into real trouble... "Hey, I would think I'd be able to pick up a pretty decent pitcher in exchange for Garry. Not equal value, of course. But at least we wouldn't just be letting the guy walk away from us."


There was a chance, that if both sides saw some chance for a settlement, negotiations might continue past opening day despite Maddox's original statement. But, for now, the only thing to do was wait.


Across town, Rawly and Kim Eastwick kept hoping that Owens would ring their phone and give them some news about their future.


All they knew was that Rawly wouldn't be pitching for the Phillies this season. He was going to be traded. They didn't have any idea where.


Several teammates called after Manager Dallas Green cancelled the club's , workout because of rain. The only news they had was that the pitching rotation for the Phils' home opening series with Montreal would be Steve Carlton, Dick Ruthven and Larry Christenson.


Plus, the Phils announced the signing of veteran outfielder Roger Freed to a minor league contract and assigned him to Oklahoma City in the American Association. Freed played the for St. Louis Cardinals last year and hit .258. He played for the Phils in 1971-72.


As for rumors about Rawly, there were only whispers that Boston, California and Toronto were interested.


As they cleaned out their rented apartment in preparation for the drive back to their new home in suburban Philly, Kim shook her bead.


"It's really a drag," she said. "This thing upset me. I mean Rawly has been traded before and we adjusted. This is different.


"Now, we just wait. We've waited for three days for the phone to ring."


On a dreary day in Clearwater, waiting seemed to be the thing to do.

Baseball to open tomorrow


By the Associated Press


The baseball season opens tomorrow as tradition dictates, in Cincinnati, as more than the usual on-the-field concerns intrudes on major league baseball's 112th year.


Hanging over the heads of the 26 major league teams is the worry of a general players' strike called for May 23, a month and a half into the season, unless owners and players can agree to a new basic agreement.


The first game of the season pits Atlanta, which finished last in the National League West with a 66-94 record last season, against the Reds, who won the division with a 90-71 record.


Right-hander Tom Seaver, who wound up with a 16-6 record last season after recovering from a lower back strain, will pitch for the Reds against Atlanta Braves knuckleballer Phil Niekro, 21-20. Starting time is 2:30 p.m. EST, and a capacity crowd of 52,392 is expected at Riverfront Stadium.


The other Wednesday opener has the Toronto Blue Jays, baseball's worst team last season with 109 losses, at Seattle under the Kingdome at 10:35 p.m. A pair of righthanders will do the pitching – Dave Lemanczyk, 8-10, for Toronto and Mike Parrott, 14-12, for Seattle – before an estimated opening-night crowd of 20,000.


Most of the other teams begin the season Thursday. In the National League, Chicago is at New York, Pittsburgh plays in St Louis, Los Angeles is at Houston and San Francisco is at San Diego. The American League has Baltimore at Chicago, Boston at Milwaukee, New York at Texas, Detroit at Kansas City and Minnesota at Oakland.


On Friday, the remaining four teams open their seasons. In the AL, Cleveland is at California, and Philadelphia hosts Montreal in the NL.


Parties to the negotiations resumed talks today with the help of a federal mediator. The Major League Players Association has set midnight, May 22 as a deadline for reaching agreement If there is no new contract, the players will walk out the next day.


"We don't want to strike, and we don't feel there will be one," said Reds third baseman Ray Knight the team's player representative. "They set a series of negotiations meetings, and we feel they're going to get together."


Off the field, the hottest issue is compensation for free agents. Owners want a player instead of a draft choice in return for a free agent. Players like things the way they are.


On the field, the main concern could be whether cancellation of 92 exhibition games has allowed players to get fat and lazy.


"If guys can take three or four days off and still perform, that's up to them," said Boston Red Sox Manager Don Zimmer. Zimmer will start right-bander Dennis Eckersley, 17-10 last season, against Milwaukee on opening day. Because of the strike, Eckersley threw only 18 innings in four appearances in spring training.


"My legs are in good shape, my arm is OK, but my mind is not on top of the game," Eckersley said. "One game, though, can take care of the mind."

Miller wary as talks resume


By the Associated Press


NEW YORK (AP) – Marvin Miller hasn't been optimistic so far over the baseball contract talks.


"We haven't discussed anything substantive since I don't know when," says the executive director of the Major League Players Association.


Miller hoped things were better today as he met with club owners negotiators and a federal mediator in the talks over a new basic agreement.


They hope to avert a general players' strike set for May 23.


"The mediator is still in the picture," said Miller about Kenneth Moffett who joined the talks two sessions ago in Palm Springs, Calif. "These meetings are under the auspices of the Federal Mediation Service. Last week, both parties (owners and players) agreed to more meetings -and that's where we stand."


Talks were recessed last Thursday when negotiators agreed to a timetable for seven more meetings over the next three weeks. The first two of the meetings were scheduled for today and Thursday.


The players and owners still present hard-line positions on several issues, including the highly-controversial area of free agent compensation.


Management represented by the Major League Player Relations Committee, wants a player rather than a draft choice as compensation for a team which loses a player as a free agent. Players have resisted the proposal, saying it would restrict their movement from one team to another and reduce the value of the free agent marketplace.


"There's a job to be done," said Miller. "The players association is willing and able to complete the job. We have to see whether the owners are in a similar frame of mind."


Moffett felt the tone of the last meeting was positive. He called the session "fruitful" because both sides agreed to keep talking for at least seven times more.


After weeks of bitter disagreements, the players association on April 1 struck the remaining 92 exhibition games. The association decided that the players would begin the season on schedule tomorrow, but set a midnight deadline on May 22 to negotiate a new agreement. If that agreement is not reached, then a strike would begin with games of May 23, the players association said.


Miller and attorney Don Fehr have been representing the players, while the management side has included Ray Grebey of the Player Relations Committee and league presidents Lee MacPhail of the American League and Chub Feeney of the National.