Pittsburgh Pirates Sunday Service-006

Pirates Sunday Service

Good morning friends, what a week in baseball. The draft flew by and our Buccos did quite well according to just about everyone. What a breath of fresh air that is. And get this, the players and owners still don’t like each other. We’re barreling toward Manfred demanding the short season and we should all expect the story to break this week. Then the grievance, then the non-action and eventually, baseball games on actual grass with bats and balls n’ stuff.

The Legacy of Vincent – 06-14 – And Connie said to Fay, the Sunshine State must be recognized.

June 14th, 1990 started the ball rolling, because on this date the National League put forth their intention to expand the league by two teams, and they planned to get it done by 1993.

The expansion committee had representatives from three teams, the Pittsburgh Pirates Chairman Doug Danfort, the Houston Astros Owner John McMullen, and finally the New York Mets President Fred Wilpon. The committee narrowed the finalists to six with three being in Florida.

The first, and arguably most controversial choice was the Marlins. Located in Miami, they wanted to be called the Florida Marlins and represent the entire state. Connie Mack III, grandson of baseball great Connie Mack and Senator from Florida used his position as a member of a Senate Task Force on Major League Baseball to pressure Commissioner Fay Vincent to expand to Florida. Somewhere along the line Tampa was promised they would be the new city and consequently sued the league eventually leading to another expansion in 1998 which created the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

The other was of course the Colorado Rockies. Denver had come close in the past and the closest was possibly the near relocation of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1985 following the Pittsburgh Drug Trials.

Expansion isn’t cheap, and each new franchise had to pay 95 Million dollars to the National League for the privilege.

In the past when either league would expand the process was entirely contained within that league. This expansion was different as Fay Vincent wanted to conduct the expansion draft across leagues. In order to convince the American league to cooperate, he offered 42 Million of the total 190-Million-dollar windfall to the AL This event marks the first time both leagues were asked to share revenue from expansion in the history of the game.

Just a few short years later in 1997 Interleague play began in the regular season. Much like we all learned in the original Ghostbusters, crossing the streams changed everything. Once the two leagues entered into cross revenue deals, there was no turning back and once the DH is implemented in the NL there will be nothing separating the two any longer as entities.

Many love the excitement of having an opportunity to see their team play the best players in both leagues or watch the Pirates play at Fenway Park, but the special nature of events like the All-Star Game and indeed the World Series suffered.

Sure, the first couple times the Yankees played the Mets in the regular season, it was exciting and some markets like, well, here in Pittsburgh, it may be the only real opportunity to see them play the Orioles again, but it also took away the air of mystery that hung over those events in the past. A National League fan may have never watched George Brett play until he and the Royals made the Series.

Once the DH is implemented, I sincerely wonder what will prevent drastic realignment in the league and sharing revenue way back when opened the door.

Friends, there are unintended consequences for every action, good or bad. Your intentions may very well be coming from the sincerest place possible, but what that leads to could very well open the door for things you couldn’t imagine.

We are watching a wonderful for instance play out right now. The players are really doing nothing more than saying they’ve already agreed to a pay cut, and they don’t want to take another. I get it. Most reasonable people understand what they’re saying, and why they feel that way. Reality dictates however they have allowed this situation to come off the rails and when nobody get’s what they want, a 48-game season, right or wrong the players will absorb at least part of the criticism.

I’m not here to pass judgement on the players or proclaim the owners to be righteous in their actions. I’m simply saying heading into a sure to be messy CBA negotiation at the conclusion of next season, perhaps both sides could have attempted to save their capital if you will, rather than drive up the ire of the fan base two years in a row.

The likelihood of agreement for many of the issues the league faces without a work stoppage seems very small to me at the moment, and worse, they’ve already built up a vast array of reasons none of us should care.

There were ways to handle this. Either side could have offered deferred payments. Either side could have offered a sliding scale of percentage based on when/if fans were allowed back in stadiums. They could have simply decided the game that has made all of them, players and owners rich beyond belief was worth eating a bit this season.

Instead, the players budged exactly one time, and the owners hated their own deal.

The really sad thing is, that line up there really sums the whole thing up. Sure, both sides will blame COVID, but in the end, both sides didn’t want to lose to the other. This could have been solved.

Be thoughtful of your actions as you go through your daily life, you never know when the whip of chain reaction will hit you in the behind.

Published by Gary Morgan

Former contributor for Inside the Pirates an SI Team Channel

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