Friday, August 13, 2004

We Are Fam-i-ly!!!

Major League Baseball is patting itself on the back for going 10 years without a strike or a lockout.


Actually, they say “labor peace”…which is a lie. Even though the games are played….the same ol’ garbage gets dragged thru the streets. The owners gripe about players salaries. When the owners try to keep salaries down…the players cry ‘collusion’. Then owners are looking to contract teams just a few years after adding two teams. Neither side trusts the other.

The modern era of strikes began in 1972 when the players sat out the first 13 days of the season because of pensions. The very next off season, the owners locked the players out because of salary arbitration. There were more pre-season lockouts in 1976 and 1980. We all remember the split season of 1981 where 712 games were lost. There were mini-strikes in 1985 and 1990 before the mother of all labor problems. The 1994 strike started on August 12 and lasted until next March. That meant 920 games lost and the cancellation of the World Series. I don’t care what your stance is….but that is something that can NEVER be apologized for. Those moments are black eyes on the sport of baseball. Remember, the 2002 season was hours away from being interrupted before the MLBPA and MLB struck a deal. And that deadline, August 30th, was just two weeks before the 1st anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11th… which baseball was instrumental at getting people back into the flow of things.

And don’t think this is just today’s modern selfish athlete doing this. The first instance of labor problems happened in the 90s…..the 1890s. In 1890, the players revolted against the owners….who they claimed were high-handed and monopolistic. Those owners wanted….*gasp*…a cap on salaries.

When the current deal expires….all of the problems that were swept under the rug in 2002 will re-emerge. Plus, I’m sure the topic of steroids will be revisited as well. You have revenue sharing and luxury taxes that are still imperfect. The dreaded “salary cap” will come up too.

Not to mention, the actual state of the game isn’t what it once was. Despite what people may tell you….it is the NFL that is America’s Game. There still is a problem with the Yankees spending $200M in payroll and other teams spending $30M. And if baseball was such a great commodity, then why has it taken 4 years to find a home for the Montreal Expos??

Also, the old “we have money issues so if we throw up a new stadium…it can buy us some time” line has gotten rather stale. While it worked in the early-to-mid 90s….it hasn’t really done much for Brewers, Reds and Pirates. Heck, you have the New York Yankees trying to get out of Yankee Stadium….the American version of The Coliseum.

I just think that the reason baseball is patting itself on the back….is because it is looking for a knife.

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