In any contract negotiations, money is always the key interest on both sides. Anything else is superfluous and a diversion. A report today from a very reliable source indicates that the owners may “lock out” the players if an agreement is not reached before the expiration of the current MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement on December 1. Relax, it ain’t gonna happen.
No one connected to Major League Baseball is losing money today. From the peanut vendor in the stands packed with a crowd of 30,000 fans, to the bullpen coach whose job has taken on a new significance, to the principals, the owners and players…….baseball is a money making machine. And even the MLB team with the lowest attendance, Tampa Bay, attracted more than 1.2 million fans. And accepting to Biz Journals, Tampa ranks at the bottom of the profits list……but they still made a profit.
As for the players, where we’re talking about a Major League Minimum salary of $607,500, plus an assortment of benefits most would die for. And beyond that, the average salary is 4,116,000 before the new wave of free agents cash in.
The Owners Challenge The Players To A Duel
In any case, Ken Rosenthal , who never seems to get anything wrong, is reporting that:
“Baseball’s streak of 21 consecutive years of labor peace is in jeopardy.
The owners will consider voting to lock out the players if the two sides cannot reach a new collective-bargaining agreement by the time the current deal expires on Dec. 1, according to sources with knowledge of the discussions.”
Now, the fact that a lockout, which would be be owners initiated, has no credence at the moment because no one is officially “working” raises the question of whether the owners are firing a salvo off the bow with no explosive ability.
The players don’t seem to be worried. Because as Rosenthal points out, “it seems largely a matter of divvying up dollars and figuring out ways to ensure that teams put any subsidies into their major league roster.”
In other words, we’re not talking about a low supply and high demand for the resources (read $$$$). We’re only talking about how to divide the resources among those who are bound to reap the spoils of the ever popularity and money making machine we call baseball.
There’s a old saying that goes “You don’t bite the hand that feeds you”. Here we have a situation where the players and owners are feeding each other. The players generate the revenue that allows the owners to pay the bills. Without the players, there is no product. And the owners reciprocate that by writing those big checks payable every month to the players. And it all occurs within a bubble that is impenetrable.
Is It A Negotiations Tactic, Or Is It War Against The Players
Unless someone goes off the deep end. Which is what the owners would be doing, if in fact, they are bent on a lockout of the players. Saner minds may or may not prevail. We don’t know yet, for example, who among the owners is leading the charge (if indeed there is one) for a lockout. Because obviously it’s one situation if the Yankees and Dodgers are pushing the idea, as opposed to the Twins and Oakland are the leaders of the movement to get the players moving quicker than they are.
Lost in everything of course is you and me, and fans of baseball generally. We care but we really don’t care about such things. All we want is to hear a umpire yell, “Play Ball!” in April. IN some ways, it’s like opening a box of pizza and launching a fight over who’s going to get the end pieces and who’s going to get the middle ones.