August 02, 2002
Baseball and the free market

Dave Pinto points to this Dan Lewis article in the National Review Online, which reiterates once again why baseball players may go on strike: It's the only leverage they have.

If the owners do not get their way, they can lockout the players, shutting down their industry, and, provided they prove to the National Labor Relations Board that negotiations are at an impasse, they can impose their terms by fiat. It'd be like GM, Ford, et al saying they are going to close up shop until all auto-workers took a 20% pay cut. If one company did this, fine competitors would snatch away the idle laborers, and the idle company would suffer immensely. (That's probably why lockouts in non-sports industries are incredibly uncommon.) But when all the companies collude or all the owners, as in baseball there's nowhere to go. And no harm done to the owners.

The players have little choice: sign on the dotted line or don't come back. And ballplayers can't make much green hitting cork and rubber 400 feet in the real world.

The reason why a strike may occur in September is simple: By September, the players have received most of their paychecks, while the owners get a lot of revenue from the postseason. It's the same reason why a lockout would occur in spring training - the players have gone all winter without a paycheck, and there's little gate and TV revenue at stake.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 02, 2002 to Baseball

Been reading your baseball posts. I note that you've been wondering when people will listen when you say the mess baseball's in is the owners' fault. I've been saying this for months. I came to believe ages ago that while the players aren't always right, the owners are _always_ wrong. Nothing that's happened this season has led me to change my mind. When will W. decide that Bud Selig needs to be subject to some of his "regime change" mojo? How long, O lord, how long?

Posted by: Chris Quinones on August 4, 2002 4:41 PM