Two more teams vote against baseball strike deadline

Now the number of teams whose players have reservations about a strike is up to three. Is there a palace coup in the making?

Published August 1, 2002 3:53AM (EDT)

At least two more major league teams have voted against authorizing the players' union to set a date for a strike. Suddenly the baseball labor situation has the makings of a minor palace coup.

On Monday I reported that sources close to the Players Association had confirmed that an unidentified small-market team had voted no when asked to approve setting a deadline. The union has since refused to confirm or deny that report. Union spokesman Greg Bouris did say that a team's players "might've meant that the team had not authorized or decided on how to vote yet." But Tuesday, the union was still unable to provide a list it promised of teams that had voted in favor of authorizing a strike date.

Now those same sources say the total number of teams voting no is at least three. These sources refused to characterize the two additional franchises.

Earlier, the Boston Herald reported "mounting rumors" that a National League team had voted no, by a slim margin.

Remember that for 30 years, excluding brief wanderings off the path, the Major League Baseball Players Association has gotten unanimous support for everything its leadership has wanted to do. There has been one -- literally one -- vote against a strike, in 1980 by Jerry Terrell of the Kansas City Royals, who said it was against his religion.

Unanimous support is not needed for the union to go ahead and set a strike date -- the latest favorite is two weeks from tomorrow. But that at least 13 guys on each of three teams are questioning union leadership is unprecedented. That could seriously undermine the union's position both before a potential strike and during it.

By Keith Olbermann

Salon columnist Keith Olbermann hosts the ABC Radio Network's "Speaking of Sports ... Speaking of Everything."

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