Fan organizations rethinking options in wake of strike

August 13, 1994|By Jon Morgan | Jon Morgan,Sun Staff Writer

Despite their outrage over baseball's labor dispute, fans across the country appeared more willing to call radio call-in shows than to participate in boycotts and other protests.

bTC "The success was minimal. The fans generally weren't willing to go the boycott route so we've got to rethink our strategy," said Ron Dalton, an organizer of Fans First, one of several grass-roots organizations that sprung up in recent months.

The group, in association with similar organizations around the country, called for a nationwide boycott of tonight's games. When the players union picked yesterday as a strike deadline, the groups scrambled and asked local fans to boycott the last home game in their towns.

When that didn't work, they tried getting fans to chant "No Strike" in the third innings of games. Again, the response was disappointing, even in Cleveland, home of Fans First, where organizers handed "Be Heard in the Third" leaflets to fans heading into a game this week.

"It's frustrating," said Dalton, a 31-year-old Baltimore-area native who lives in Muncie, Ind.

He speculated that the high cost of tickets may have left people reluctant to waste the money by not going, or even going late, another tack tried by the group.

About 500 fans walked out of a Texas Rangers home game last week, in response to a planned protest there. That was the best showing he knows of, Dalton said. Local groups around the country promoted other gimmicks -- including a radio station that asked its listeners to leave after the first pitch of a game -- but few had any effect, he said.

The group will remain active, however, trying to represent fans and organize protests if play resumes, Dalton said.

"We're not a dead organization. Something has got to be done," he said.

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