Boston Red Sox are waiting out a CBA agreement

The Boston Red Sox and baseball are currently in negotiations over a new labor agreement. Will the parties settle or strike?

Baseball’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is ready to expire. Within the agreement or one now in negotiations is items that will impact the operation of the Boston Red Sox – most notably money. Luxury taxes, roster limitations, benefits, international signings or debating the merits of a Gulf Stream or Lear for personal travel.

The Red Sox have been patient as they await the outcome of any negotiations before moving forward. An understandable position, but one that frustrates fans over “inaction.” I am sure that the Red Sox management is astute and clever enough to have various contingency plans in place for when (hopefully) a CBA resolution takes place.

The combatants in this latest round of labor unrest will garner little sympathy from the “Great Unwashed” or as they are affectionately known – the fans. The fans happen to be the driver in the whole muddled situation since our loyalty and emotional involvement are the keys to revenues. Get us ticked off and the spigot will be turned off.

The history of labor relations in baseball has an illustrious past and does go back to the 19th century as various attempts were made to – pun intended – level the playing field. The players certainly had enough to gripe about since they were quite limited in options that were available.

Occasionally a bounty would happen, such as a new league in the case of the American League and later the Federal League. Both offered players the opportunity to move elsewhere for a bit more financial security. There was even the foreign option when a new “Mexican League” was started by Jorge Pasqual in the 1940’s and successfully enticed a few name players to go south.

Labor unrest in the form of strikes or lockouts or work stoppage – choose one or more – became the option best utilized by both sides in the last 40 or so years. Negotiations that dramatically improved working conditions, salaries, benefits and the potential for player movement. Owners saw franchise value increase to staggering proportions. Now we have another scuffle.

The owners are not the one percent often mentioned in political demagoguery – they are the one percent of the one percent. The ultra rich you will not see at Wal-Mart or Little Peach getting a morning cup of joe.

Then you have the players with a pension available after 43 days of service time. How much? A minimum of $34,000 a year last I checked. A health care program that even Congress would be envious for. And that minimum salary? The current is $507,000 per year.

Unions owe a responsibility to their members. I have been in a union and I have been on strike so I understand the song and dance associated with the process, but with the warring parties in this instance I have nada sympathy. If they wish to have a self-inflicted wound, then do it since a good portion of fans will find other options.

Baseball – the major league version – is reaching a tipping point where a family’s discretionary spending will soon limit attendance – especially in the most pricey places such as Boston. I hear, read and see about this now. A neighbor who takes his family to Pawtucket where a box seat is $12. Or others who go to one game rather than two or three. Sometimes it takes years for the filtering of selection to take place.

From my view, I expect a quick resolution to the unsavory negotiations between millionaires and billionaires since there is far too much to squander over issues that resemble a fight over a new Lamborghini. If not – you will see Joe and Jane Average Fan walk away and possibly never come back.

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