August 30, 2002
A deal has been reached between the MLBPA and the owners, at the last minute as so many predicted, thus averting a strike. Woo hoo!
I am a bit concerned that the players have agreed not to challenge "any contraction moves in 2007", but that's a long way off and things may change by then. $DEITY willing, Beelzebud Selig will be selling used cars and not doing any more damage to the sport.
Meantime, I wholeheartedly agree with the following sentiments from the Baseball Prospectus, written on Wednesday when a lot of people thought there'd be a short strike:
Anyway, the strike--I hope that no one who has made any comment about not coming back after a strike comes back. I don't want to hear "oh, I meant an extended strike". Nope, you should have written that on the sign you held up for the cameras.
I don't go telling my lovely and talented wife I'm going to leave her when she doesn't (uh, for instance) clean the cookie sheets she's cooked on. I don't threaten it because I love her, and I understand it's part of the package. Professional sports are no different--it takes an immense amount of money to pay the best athletes in the world on the field, and those same athletes are going to want fair compensation for their services. That they're going to argue about it sometimes shouldn't surprise anyone. Would it be in the best interests of everyone if the owners stopped seeing the players as an exploitable resource and instead as potential partners in growing the game? Sure. But there aren't a lot of companies, much less industries, who have that kind of enlightened vision.
If your relationship with baseball, or any professional sport, is so filled with jealousy and anger that you can't enjoy the beauty of the game and the talent of its players because management is inept, go watch Friends (which has been beset by labor, money, and drug issues throughout its history) and forget all about the greatest sport there is.
A seven-day strike that gets us four years of labor peace (and, likely, increasing competitive imbalance, but I digress) and clears out the angry, "players are overpaid" crowd? Sign me up.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 30, 2002 to Baseball
I was never one of the "I'm not going back if they strike" sort, but I always assumed they meant a strike that prevented a world series.
The reason why so many took it so hard was that the strikes/lockouts were appearing to become more frequent. If every few seasons you don't know whether they will play it to completion, I can understand the sentiment that it's not worth it.
Luckily, it turns out not to be the case.
This news sure made my day.
Those selfish bastards!! Now I have to choose between watching the Texans or the Astros tonight....
I've been looking through the settlement specifics, and a lot of this looks like a healthy move for the sport. Steroid testing is crucial, I think, for the image of baseball, and the idea of using some of the luxury tax to "[develop] baseball players in countries lacking organized high school baseball." Good move to get better players in the future, and to expand the market for the sport. I didn't see anything about requiring or encouraging "failing" franchises to spend their revenue sharing money on, you know, getting players so they don't suck so bad, and that's a real problem. Putting the Tigers on welfare isn't going to help the sport if they just pocket the money. Oh well, at least they're playing.
Baseball is in real trouble, strike or no strike. This thing did nothing to help competitive balance, and you can just imagine how angry the players are going to be in 2006 if salaries have stagnated and the same half dozen teams are still the only ones with a real shot.
Add to that the slow pace of the game, the fact that the owners spend three quarters of their time badmouthing their players, and baseball as my father knew it is already dead.
It's the badmouthing, what the Baseball Prospectus calls "anti-marketing" that's both the most pernicious and the most easily fixed. I disagree that baseball's in real trouble. I've heard that for years, and I don't believe it. Baseball is growing internationally, which has also increased the level of talent available. If the owners and the commissioner made the effort to reach out to fans instead, you'd see an incredible response.
FWIW, baseball as our fathers knew it has been dead for years. Of course, the "golden days" of baseball saw teams that drew a quarter-million fans a year, resisted television, and enforced a color line. As such, I shed no tears for its loss. I'll take today's product.
Mr. Northrup up there put his finger on the same thing I spoke of here; no guarantees that the "small-market" owners will put the shared revenue back on the field.