“Baseball–Can You Explain This?”
It’s awful, this destructive environment baseball has become.
We are now 95-days into the lockout, and the financial gulf between the Union and the Owners is still very wide.
Words like ‘deadlocked’….’going backwards’….’not hearing our message’ are all part of the conversation coming from either Tony Clark’s group, or Rob Manfred’s spokesman.
And baseball withers on the vine, with more games likely to be cancelled before mid-week.
The Padres appear ready to challenge the Dodgers in a full season pennant race. They have a deep pitching staff, return virtually the entire batting order, and appear to have most all of their pitchers back healthy from surgery issues. And there is the proven leadership in a new manager and coching staff.
The Dodgers have issues. The unresolved status of troubled pitcher Trevor Bauer. The unknown status of free agents Clatyon Kershaw and Kenley Jansen.
If and when they ever get this dollar war settled, there will be more free agent signings, and possibly trades.
Where does Freddy Freeman wind up, back in Atlanta, or with the Yankees or the Dodger?.
What becomes of Houston shortstop Carlos Correa. Is there a landing spot for Trevor Story?
Is there a trade in the offing for Matt Olson or Matt Chapman of the A’s? Does Cincinnati move Sonny Gray or Luis Castillo?
And of course the Japanese slugger Seiyo Suzuki will be making a decision on coming to the major leagues as soon as the lockout ends.
But between now and then there are so many unresolved issues, and no one willing to break thru the barbed wire to get to the other side of no-man’s land, to make a good deal for everyone, the game and fans included..
The owners have offered to take the luxury tax threshold from 210M last year to 220M this season. The Union wants 238M.
The minimum salary has gone from 570,000 to 700,000, that’s a 33% hike, and yet the union wants 775,000 to start.
The Rookie Bonus Pool for top young players, the Plus 2-category, was zero last year. The owners have offered 30M in a pool for maybe 22% of the young players. The Union wants a pool of 80M, a massive increase.
The owners are taking massive criticism. The players say they are the talent that creates the profits the owners reap. They want to be paid accordingly for their value.
This is baseball where they allow all these small market teams to take revenue sharing and put 47M-budget teams on the field, and refuse to do anything about the competitive imbalance to continue. Whatever happened to the floor to spending proposal, that I think has merit.
This is a Union which has gotten great gains for young players, who have been shortchanged compared to young players in other sports, and yet a union that is demanding even more budget space for star players who are signing 30-and-40M contracts.
And no one thinks much about the Padres raising ticket prices some 20-to-28%, to see a franchise that has just 1-playoff experience and a bunch of epic collapses in the last decade.
It’s like the leaders can’t see the forest because of the trees.
The game’s pace of play is killing the quality of play. Analytics have made the game enormously boring. There are so many substandard teams that are allowed to operate under an old set of rules where now everyone questions the credibility of leadership, of the sport, and probably half of the owners.
Baseball, can you explain to me, a life long baseball fan, who grew up in a baseball family, why you operate the sport the way you do, why you have let the quality of play slip so badly, and why the product on the field is not as important to you as the profit in your bank account?
TV ratings are down. Attendance is down. Interest in the game is waning.
Anybody think leadership has done a good job
Both sides have taken the fun out of the game.
It’ls like baseball has become a Fortune 500 company.