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JOURNALISTS: Here are two Purdue University experts who can discuss aspects of the potential Major League Baseball strike.

Aug. 26, 2002

Consumer expert: Fans will return after strike

A Purdue University consumer expert says that despite fan threats to quit the national pastime if major league players go on strike, they will return when the games begin again.

"Baseball is part of a small set of consumer products that we call sacred products," says Richard Feinberg, professor of consumer sciences and retailing and director of the Center for Customer-Driven Quality.

Feinberg says other examples of sacred products are Harley-Davidson motorcycles and the Super Bowl.

"Devotion to scared products is deeply rooted in spiritual and psychological forces that will only be affected for a short time if it is affected at all."

Sacred products have religious, even mythical significance, Feinberg says. "The product is elevated, and in the minds of the fans the ballparks come close to places of worship.

"Baseball is so strongly branded that no matter how divisive the players or owners, no matter how disrespectful they are to fans, the fans will always come back."

Contact: Feinberg, (765) 494-8301,

Purdue chancellor an expert on baseball bargaining

"Play Ball!" could soon be a hollow echo in major league baseball stadiums if players and team owners don't reach a settlement by the Friday (8/30) strike deadline. James Dworkin, Purdue North Central chancellor, is an expert on collective bargaining and baseball strikes. Dworkin says the two issues which have been difficult to resolve this year are revenue sharing and the luxury tax. Yet, he still holds hope that continued talks will lead to an agreement.

"A lot more progress will have to be made before a settlement will be reached over these two issues," Dworkin says. "I am more optimistic than I have been in previous rounds of bargaining, if for no other reason than that the two sides have been hard at work negotiating. I would still say that I am guardedly optimistic that something can be worked out prior to the deadline, which would then preserve the remainder of this season."

Dworkin is the author of "Owners Versus Players: Baseball and Collective Bargaining" (Boston: Auburn House Publishing Company, 1981.) Before being appointed chancellor, Dworkin served as an associate dean for the Krannert School of Management at Purdue's West Lafayette campus.

CONTACT: Dworkin, (219) 785-5331,