They may be just a day away from The End now. Maybe two. So this ought to be a time of frantic activity in the baseball strike. Or at least a time of frantic behind-the-scenes brainstorming.
Instead, there is almost a sense of resignation, as if the two sides are merely waiting for the inevitable bomb to drop.
There were, once again, no negotiating sessions yesterday. By all accounts, there was not even any meaningful contact between owners, players or any of theier representatives.
Interim commissioner Bud Selig denied a Chicago Tribune report that he would announce the cancellation of the season and World Series on this the 32nd day of the strike. Selig told the Associated Press that he would make an announcement by Wednesday evening. Other baseball people are speculating that the announcement could come as soon as tomorrow.
There were rumblings of a secret weekend powwow among owners involved in bargaining strategy. But they appear unfounded.
There were more rumblings that some of the disgruntled big-market owners -- particularly the Orioles' Peter Angelos and the Los Angeles Dodgers' Peter O'Malley -- were, in the words of one source, "trying to stir things up." But if they were, they were stirring remarkably quietly.
By yesterday, even the most hopeful people in the business were running out of what little hope they had, as reports reached them that Saturday's informal meetings had simply turned back into the same old tired salary-cap-or-else debate that has gotten everyone into this mess in the first place.
The only known activity set for today is a previously scheduled late afternoon meeting among player representatives for all 28 teams. Asked over the weekend what he would tell those players might happen in the long winter ahead, union chief Donald Fehr did not lay out a pretty scenario.
"I will tell them they have to take the position that spring training is in jeopardy now," Fehr said. "And if it goes past the end [of this season], it's pretty clear the owners are counting on players breaking in the spring, or May, or November, or whenever."