Baseball’s unfortunate war


Photo by Craig Nedrow for TalkNats

If you just landed here from Mars and you got wind of the ongoing battle between the MLB’s players and owners in the midst of a global pandemic and massive social upheaval you would conclude that there is no intelligent life here on earth. You would get back on your spaceship and move on to the next galaxy.

Once you get through all the minutia, the battle seems to be over something like $300 to $400 million, so $10 to $15 million per franchise give or take. I am well aware that when you look at franchises separately from the people who own them you might conclude that this is not an insignificant amount but we all know that to the men (or women) behind the curtain $10 to $15 million is a rounding error and talking about the last one of the jokers who are all of the sudden playing poor even as they sign a billion-plus deal with TBS.

The players have clearly reached a point where they have had it up to here with the owner’s shenanigans even though they are fully responsible for the brutal CBA their union leadership signed up for in 2016. Let’s review the deals’ clear pitfalls:

  1. The players have fought and won the right to avoid a salary cap in every deal since the epic battle of 1994, the owners snuck in a de-facto cap we all know as a CBT threshold and they did it without having a salary floor – score one for the owners.
  2. The CBA allows clubs to manipulate service time to their advantage by artificially delaying major league promotions for players who have clearly earned them – score another one for the owners.
  3. A large number of teams pocket competitive balance payments without actually trying to compete while at the same time turning annual profits.

The top stars in baseball have and will likely continue to do very well for themselves. The 2nd tier players and below have been victimized potentially by collusion-like practices and the minor leaguers have been totally abandoned by almost everyone involved; shame on them.

So we could see easily how we got here and there is little doubt that the nuclear war was coming once the CBA expired but the question that sane people everywhere ask (including the ones from Mars) is how in your right minds could anyone have concluded that now is the best time to have this fight? With one year remaining in the CBA everyone could have been a hero. An 82 game schedule at 80% of pro-rata would not have bankrupted anyone; the players will end up with less money with a 54 game schedule and the owners greed would not have been exposed so completely the leadership of both antagonists should be put on that spaceship to Mars.

This all is wrong and it’s also stupid on so many levels that everyone will pay a price for this unnecessary fight because there is a 3rd interested party in all of this: the fans and they may not forgive and forget.

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