Until then, baseball stadiums across America would remain empty. Sprinkler systems and groundskeepers would continue grooming the grassy fields, optimistically preparing for that evening’s ballgame. Tarpaulins would mostly remain in place, lest a rainy day muddy the fragile infield, making base running dangerous, if not impossible. A few stadiums allowed Little League teams to come in and play, to the delight of the kids and their parents, or rented their grand vistas to college teams so they could stay in shape.
Mostly, though, turnstiles and gates would remain locked, discouraging vandals and souvenir hunters alike. The sizzling of hot dogs, the screeching of fans, the bellowing of vendors, and the report of leather jumping off wood were replaced by a near-silent, warm summer wind slicing searchingly through empty seats. For now, there would be no shouts of “Play ball!”
Concessionaires, who made a livelihood out of catering to the needs and appetites of the fans, were forced to find other sources of income. Souvenir hawkers on stadium outskirts were temporarily put out of business. So were ticket scalpers, who lost hundreds of tax-free dollars for every unplayed game. Stadium security guards and maintenance workers had layoffs to contend with, as did ushers, parking attendants, technicians, photographers and organists. One west coast radio station calculated that a prolonged strike would cause the starvation deaths of some 5,000 birds locally, and at least one blimp pilot.
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