At Shea Stadium, Bret Saberhagen cleaned out his locker. At Fenway Park, players piled possessions into plastic bags and attache cases. At County Stadium, a message was scribbled on a clubhouse chalkboard.
"Pack bats for seven-day trip. Or four-day trip? You figure it out," it read Sunday.The New York Mets, Boston Red Sox and Milwaukee Brewers became the latest teams to leave for an uncertain future. They're not scheduled to return until after Friday's strike date - if there is a walkout, players will be allowed to return to the parks for personal belongings, but no playing equipment.
"You got to take it now or you won't be able to get it if there's a strike," Saberhagen said.
On Sunday, negotiators for the players and owners said a strike seemed inevitable.
"I think so. I hope not," union head Donald Fehr said.
"I think there probably will," management negotitator Richard Ravitch said.
The sides did not formally speak to each other during the weekend. No negotiations on the owners' demand for a salary cap are scheduled until Wednesday, two days before the deadline.
Talks were planned for today and Tuesday. But today's meeting was scheduled to be about non-economic issues and Tuesday's talks were to be at the committee level.