Major League Baseball and the Players Union had one job and one job only, get an agreement done and get the ball rolling on the season. The league and the players association have once again failed the fans of baseball and now we all must suffer the consequences as both sides have shown their true colors, especially on this day, Tuesday March 1st, 2022; neither side could come to some type of compromise.
On Tuesday December 2nd, the owners of the league voted to impose a lockout of the players, and in it, two things happened, one, ended 26 years of labor peace between the two sides and the beginning of what we all knew was going to be a long miserable time. With neither side showing any interest and what felt like a severe lack of urgency to get. a deal done. Instead all we saw was a bunch of finger pointing and what felt like childish behavior for people who are supposed to "role models" for kids. Yet these "role models" continue to act like the boy who cried wolf and make themselves look like the victims in all this.
You figured that for a group of players and owners who allegedly "lost millions upon billions" of dollars in salary and revenue would feel more urgency to get a deal done quickly and swiftly so that way no revenue or salaries were lost, yeah that was a big fat lie. Both sides are to blame for this and they have no one to blame for this but themselves. The owners for not getting off their high horse and not willing to budge on major issues and not appearing to meet in the middle on some issues. In order to get a little; you need to give a little. The same goes for the players; you want to get a little bit; gotta give a little bit back in return. Such as the implantation of a pitch clock, something that has worked beautifully in the minors leagues. This writer has been to multiple minor league games when the pitch clock was first instituted; hardly notice it if at all.
Bad look on the owners for waiting six weeks before you send out an offer, six weeks since you lockout the athletes that give you the money you make, you decide to make an offer. Talk about looking like complete and otter morons, waiting that long to make an offer. Embarrassing. The players are just as bad simply in the fact that throughout the entire month of December and January they showed an extreme lack of urgency and were relying on the owners to simply "lift the lockout". Going around and make a group statement through their own twitter page saying "the owners did not have to do this or they can't do that". News flash idiots, THEY PAY YOUR SALARY? Have you guys been living under a rock or do you simply not know how to negotiate? Its like a contract, you want it to be fair for not only you but also team. You want this CBA to fair for both you and the owners. Yet both you can't compromise on certain issue.
Monday February 28th, both owners and players were giving fans a glimmer of hope that both sides were showing the urgency and willingness to hammer out a deal; end the stalemate to salvage the what would have been the last three in a half weeks of Spring Trining and start the regular season on time . Fans felt optimistic and good that both sides would be able to finish the deal and put this headache to bed. What happened? hey pulled an Atlanta Falcons; chocked the deal away and we are back to right where we started., wondering how many games will actually be played, if any.
The owners submitted basically a "take it or leave it" deal to the players, the union decided to reject it and that was that. Commissioner Rob Manfred did exactly what he said he would do, cancel regular season games and not make them up. This a major black eye for not just the league and the players but also Manfred who frankly is becoming the least liked commissioner in all of sports. The league figured that they would put pressure on the players but taking away pay checks, players know what game they are playing, not taking the bait.
Let's look at a couple examples. The NFL & NFLPA back in 2011. Both sides had significant issues which lead to the lockout in the first place. The owners didn't wait six weeks to talk to the players, within a week after the lockout was implemented they started up the negotiations to see how quickly they could end the stalemate and salvage the offseason. It did not start off great, in fact the courts had to get involved and encourage both sides to continue to talk and hammer out a deal themselves. The sides talked and talked for weeks. The key month was July, the owners knew that the season was quickly approaching and that were thinking of the lost pre-season revenue. While the players were realizing how much money was on the line for them because what whatever the league lost, they would lose. Both sides finally came together, spent hours together, hammered out a deal to not cause a delay in either training camp, preseason or regular season. they got it done.
The NBA and the Players in 2011, same boat, far apart if differences, willingness to miss games until either side got what they wanted. Owners knew that Christmas was coming and at the time; they were only sports league that would be on Christmas and thought about the major revenue they would lose. Plus the players were worried about the tradition of playing games on Christmas. Both side hunkered down, got a deal done, were back playing games within weeks.
The NHL and NHLPA found themselves in a similar situation, the willingness to miss games and major revenue until either side got what they wanted. For a league that, at the time and even now; relies heavily on TV deals, ticket sales, merchandise and many other aspects. Plus this is a shadow that neither the NFL or NBA faced, the shadow of 2004-2005 lost season due to a lockout. Owners did not want to lose the fans again like they did that time. The players and owners both felt that pressure and presence, hunkered down and got a deal done, back playing within weeks.
What do all three leagues have in common; worked on future CBA's so that way they never put themselves in that situation again. The NFL got a new deal done prior to the old one expiring. The NBA is constantly making adjustments and extensions to keep the game going and grow it even more. The NHL has done the same thing, made up a new deal, have one in place for when current one expires. Why? The NHL has been able to grow the game significantly and do not want to destroy that at all.
The MLB and the Players Union has the shadow of the 1994-95 players strike looming over them. The reaming month in a half of the season was canceled, including the entire 1994 postseason. That also spelled the end of the Montreal Expos as for the next decade they would be at the bottom of the league annually; which eventually caused them to move after the 2004 season. What saved baseball before, won't save it again. The Steroid ERA is what saved baseball. As controversial as it is today and the completive advantage that it gave players, its what won the fans back. the home run race between Mark McQwire and Sammy Sosa in 1998, that what made baseball fun and brought the fans back. The owners can say all they want that it was a completive disadvantage (which is fair) it's what saved the sport then, it won't now.
Did the players and owners make a lot of strides on Monday into the early hours of Tuesday, yes they absolutely did. What happened to get everything to fall apart in the matter of hours on Tuesday, will leave everyone scratching their heads. As a fan of the game; you have to feel that there was a sever lack of urgency form both sides. The owners willing to cancel games and the players willingness to lose pay checks to get exactly what they want.
After Tuesday it should be obvious to fans, the owners do not care for the sport, all they care about is putting money in their pockets. As much as the players do seem to be getting the shaft at times, its also clear that the players don't care about the game either; they only care about how much money they can stuff in their pockets as well. Leaves us fans in the dark wondering "why should we care about baseball if neither side cares about baseball?" That is a harsh reality that fans should take into consideration.
2020 was a perfect example; the lack of urgency to get back onto the field during the pandemic was bad. The players complaining about their salaries and how much money that they weren't going to make was downright childish. The owners were taking the biggest hit as they were willing to play games without fans. Losing ticket sales, major tv revenue and other various parts of the game they make money on. The owners took the hit and losses, had to pull teeth in order for the players to agree to cut their losses.
Maybe that's the sense both sides need to have; accept whatever values that you won't be able to get, hammer out a deal and salvage a full season.
Commissioner Rob Manfred that games would canceled would not be made up, that is something that absolutely could change as that can and should be negotiated. If a deal gets done within the next week, no excuse why the game that have already been "canceled" can't be played at some point and still play a full 162-game season.
Buckle up baseball fans; this could take a while and we might not see baseball until maybe May or even later. All we ask is that we don't get another joke of season that's only 60 games long and 60% of the league qualifies for the playoffs. let's avoid that.
Polar Park in Worcester, MA and Hadlock Field in Portland, ME should be buzzing early in the year as that's where fans will go to get their baseball fix.
Just final message to both sides. Stop acting like the biggest cry babies in the world, take off the Huggies diapers, pull up you big boy pants, and get a deal done. It should never have gotten to this point and there is no one to blame but yourselves. it's called compromising.........