Some don't care if they ever get back AN EMPTY FEELING BASEBALL 1994: THE END The fans

September 15, 1994|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,Sun Staff Writer

Some fans said it's the owners' fault, and others blamed the players. Many of them wouldn't take sides, saying it's impossible to sympathize with anyone making so much money.

But there was one point many people in Baltimore could agree on yesterday. Greed, they said, had destroyed the baseball season. And it's the fans who will suffer.

"I'm disappointed because I have a grandson who loved going [to Camden Yards] all the time," said John Mims, 57, of Baltimore, who was among those not surprised by yesterday's announcement that acting commissioner Bud Selig had canceled the remainder of the season. "Each side is just greedy for money. They didn't consider us, the fans."

Doug Dale, 59, of Linthicum, said he saw the end coming long before yesterday.

"It's a shame the owners and players couldn't get together," he said.

"They had long enough to work this out. They waited too long to begin negotiating in earnest."

Robert Fisher, who will turn 75 in December, has attended every Orioles Opening Day since the franchise moved to Baltimore in 1954. He and his wife, Shirley, have been season-ticket holders for more than 30 years.

"It's a very big disappointment. I'm very angry at this thing," he said. "I'm not sure if I even feel like going anymore. I guess I will, but maybe my record will be broken."

Fisher, who lives in Baltimore, doesn't see the relationship between the owners and players improving any time soon, even if a settlement is reached before the start of next season.

"They'll never get together. Next time, it'll be something else. They hate each other," he said.

For every person at the Inner Harbor who lamented yesterday's news, there was someone else who had lost interest long ago.

"I had stopped caring since the first time when I heard on TV that Bobby Bonilla was losing $31,000 a day, which is more than I make in a year. I said, 'OK, I really don't care anymore,' " said Meredith Mowen, who lives in Pennsylvania and commutes downtown.

"I thought it was over the day they walked out," said Dan Evans, 59, of Catonsville. "My interest has shifted to football, and most people I've talked to don't care. I would have been disappointed if they had started again."

So, what happens next year? Assuming the two sides can get together and resolve their differences, will the fans welcome back the game with open wallets?

"It would be great if the fans could organize a boycott for a year and make both parties feel the pain of the situation, but it's hard to see that happening," said Mark Stromdahl, 39, of Jarrettsville.

"I'll probably be ready to go next year," said Cynthia Shreaves of Baltimore. "You can't help but get excited. It's spring. You look forward to baseball."

For Matt Rybczynski, 23, of Ellicott City, baseball's work stoppage came in handy as he promoted the opening of a new jewelry store in the city. He stood at the corner of Calvert and Lombard streets, wearing a sandwich board that read: No baseball, but lots of diamonds.

The humorous slogan was deceiving, though.

Rybczynski considers himself a huge fan -- he had been to 35 games this season and counts Orioles outfielder Brady Anderson among his friends. For him, this was no laughing matter.

3l "The fans, the community, the retailers around this area, that's who's really being hurt," he said. "Everybody loses. And as big a fan as I am, even if they had come back this year, I don't know if I would have been back out there.

"I think they'll still sell out here. There will be a certain amount of people who it's going to take through spring training and the first part of April or May to get back into it, but there's such fan support around here, I don't think they'll have a problem. The effects won't really be shown.

E9 "Next year, maybe I'll take the first few weeks off."

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