Angry Baseball Fans Plan Own Strike

ByABC News
June 24, 2002, 4:02 PM

June 25 -- Lifelong Yankees fan Heather Holdridge won't be watching the Bronx Bombers take on the Cleveland Indians on July 11. If she gets her wish, neither will anyone else.

Holdridge is one of a handful of fans trying to organize a one-day "fan strike" of Major League Baseball that day, to protest what they see as ongoing exploitation of the public by players and owners.

"Baseball is America's pastime," she said. "It holds a special place in American culture, and they're sort of treating it as this toy that the owners and players want to control."

Holdridge helped create a Web site,, to spread the word, along with several other fan sites and organizations around the country.

With luck, there will be a "noticeable" dip in attendance on July 11, Holdridge says, but she admits it will be tough to organize enough fans to empty the bleachers.

"I don't think we expect to see a bunch of completely empty ballparks with just crickets and a bunch of guys selling beer," she said.

Is Another Baseball Strike On Deck?

They have a laundry list of complaints about their favorite sport: rapidly increasing ticket prices, the disparity between rich and poor teams, the possibility of contracting and cutting several teams, and most importantly the threat of another players strike.

"The stakes are insanely high," said Don Wadewitz, a program coordinator at Marquette University who created after hearing a sportscaster ask why fans never spoke out about baseball's problems.

"If [the owners and players] sit there and there's a strike and everything seems to be the status quo, I think people are going to stay away, and stay away in droves," he said.

With Major League Baseball operating under an expired collective bargaining agreement for the last six months, a strike or lockout is a distinct possibility this season, though experts differ on how likely a walkout actually is.

MLB and the players' union differ on such key issues as revenue sharing among clubs and the possibility of contracting several teams this year.