Well, after over a year of talking about it, the situation many of us were dreading as baseball fans has finally come to fruition. Following a riveting seven minute meeting yesterday between MLB and the MLBPA, the owners unanimously voted to institute a lockout of players beginning at 12:01 EST today, December 2nd.
Almost immediately shots were fired from each side of the aisle as MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and the MLBPA (aka Tony Clark) released statements to explain how negotiations reached this point, why it is the other side’s fault and that we the fans deserve better.
Of course the fans also did their part by arguing against each other using the often used phrase of millionaires versus billionaires, clamoring for owners to open the books, bashing players by pointing out that they get paid more than many Americans to play a game, calling for a salary floor, carrying the flag for a salary cap-while vehemently explaining to detractors that it comes with both a cap and a floor-and most importantly, picking a side.
This compulsion to be in the right-or in the very least think we are-reminds me of what Iron Man implied, when he spoke to Captain America-along with rest of the Avengers at times-concerning the Sokovia Accords throughout Civil War…there are no sides.
For years the MLBPA has protected the few under the guise of fair, and in some ways equal opportunity for all; whereas MLB, but more specifically it’s owners have held onto their books tighter than an older sister clutches her diary to keep her nosey little brother from reading it.
Neither camp is fully in the right, though each will try to prove that they are in the coming days and weeks; but hopefully not months, because at that point only one group truly suffers. The Fans.
Nevertheless, I am fully prepared for this; actually taking steps over the past few years without actually realizing it to a certain extent.
When my older two children were little, PNC Park became practically a monthly excursion. Many times we were accompanied by extended family and friends. However, in recent years they have started to join me on my regular trips to every Minor League ballpark near and far. From Altoona to Erie, Morgantown to Indianapolis, Columbus to Bradenton and everywhere in between.
We are a baseball family. So much so that my daughter and two sons have taken to pulling up a seat as I stream games from MiLB.TV on my phone, laptop or television. Of course we usually focus on games involving the Pittsburgh Pirates Affiliates, but we have also been known to watch any random game depending on when certain top prospects from any MLB organization are involved.
For them baseball is so much more than what takes place on the Major League landscape. My son’s favorite ball player is Jared Oliva, who has only 56 Big League at bats under his belt. My daughter collects decorative baseballs from every ballpark we visit. Her brothers collect miniature bats, with their most prized possession among them being the one signed by every member of the Washington Wild Things. Yeah, we like Independent League Baseball as well.
So, as you occupy your time reading everything you can on the current labor dispute, arguing with each other on social media and trying to demonstrate why MLB and it’s owners or the MLBPA are just in their cause. I’ll be right here with my family, making plans for which games we are going to attend this summer.
Sure I want Major League Baseball to come back; I write for a Pittsburgh Pirates inspired blog and have a weekly podcast. Still, this ongoing labor dispute won’t stop me-and my family-from enjoying something we all love…Baseball.
2 thoughts on “The MLB Off-Season Has Been Put On Hold”
I don’t understand the vilification of owners for not opening their books. No privately owned companies do that, especially in labor negotiations. The compensation system is broke but both sides agreed to it. Both sides now have to find improvements that the other party will accept. I grew up in a union family and my Dad was on strike twice during my childhood and can say that this is nothing compared to labor contracts expiring in September in the Northeast. Cold weather drove utility bills through the roof and it was trying. My folks stocked up on groceries in the non strike years having a deep freezer and huge pantry for canned goods. The pantry was actually about the size of a walk in closet today. Christmas gifts were “bought” using SH Green Stamps. I’d like to see improved conditions for the MiLB players as well as higher wages required for the first 5 years in MLB while protecting against FA during that time. I have no sympathy for players with career earnings over $10 million. Tough to feel sorry for them.
I mean, anyone who hoards billions in wealth is by definition a villain perpetuating the system that leads to plights like your family’s (and so much worse), which I’m sorry you had to endure. Just because it’s normal for corporate cronies to do everything they can to avoid disclosures and maintain their power doesn’t make it acceptable.
That said, I strongly agree with everything else you proposed. The union needs to better serve ALL professional baseball players, which in turn would also leverage a much greater strength in numbers against owners. The dominance of the union by the highest-paid players merely perpetuates a system the owners find more than acceptable.