BREAKING: MLB players reject best, final offer from owners. If owners and commissioner Rob Manfred now follow through on their stated threat, Opening Day 2022 will be delayed, and some number of games in the regular season canceled. Players contingent is leaving Florida.— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) March 1, 2022
MLB has canceled the first two series of the season.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 1, 2022
Okay. Now what? First of all, let’s get a few things clear: the supposed deadline that had to be met in order to start the season was completely arbitrary, and put in place solely with the purpose of putting pressure on the MLBPA to agree to a bad deal. Another important thing to know: the deal the MLBPA was offering was still ridiculously owner-friendly. The players were selling themselves short a bit in order to get a deal done. The last thing to know? MLB hasn’t wanted to play a full season in years. We saw it in 2020 when they waited for no reason before implementing a 60-game season, as we all remember. We saw it in 2021 when they made a serious attempt to cut the regular season down from 162 games. And we’ve seen it now. Their whole tactic over the past three months has been to give out false hope, stall, and try to win the PR battle against the players, all in the name of breaking the union. And if they potentially damage baseball long term by doing this, so be it. Of course, the players are not dumb, so they didn’t play that game, and now here we are, on the verge of MLB losing regular season games due to any sort of work stoppage for the first time since 1995. And MLB keeps lying.
Manfred: ‘Last five years have been very difficult for the league from a revenue perspective.’ MLB has totaled about $43 billion in that period.— Travis Sawchik (@Travis_Sawchik) March 1, 2022
So, again, now what?
What happens now? How far are the owners going to push this? How long are the players going to hold on for? How many fans who don’t care about the intricacies of a CBA negotiation and just want baseball will be driven away? The last time this happened, it took steroids, an unprecendented home run race, and the greatest player of at least the last 50 years turning into a baseball God to get the fans back, and it didn’t even get them back fully to what it used to be. And now the average person has a lot more different avenues to spend his entertainment dollar and attention than back then, mind you. Some may end up never returning, and then what? Baseball sure as hell isn’t going to capture the attention of the majority of sports fans from ages 5-20 on the regular, and this only makes it worse.
Forgive me if this week’s Rockpile isn’t some sort of detailed analysis, but I don’t think I can come up with that right now, because the sheer greed and lack of vision exhibited by the ownership groups is just blowing my mind. For them to pull this when they finally have a new generation of young, exciting players they can build the game around is just insanity to me. Nobody is saying the MLBPA is perfect, by the way -the way the tend to throw minor leaguers under the bus is insane as well- but this is most definitely not on them. And then there’s the people who work at the ballparks. And the people who work in the surrounding areas. And all the people who are likely to lose their jobs if the owners decide to drag this out for a while.
I know as far as I’m concerned, college baseball (and Minor League Baseball eventually) is where it’s going to be at for me the next few weeks, at least until something positive happens in MLB. Whatever the case, I suggest you do not allow the greed running wild all over Major League Baseball to contaminate your passion for the sport of baseball itself. It’s far too beautiful for that to be allowed to happen.
Do you plan to watch college baseball or MiLB while the lockout remains?
This poll is closed
Yes, college ball
Yes, Minor League ball
No to both
In short? Being romantic about baseball is easy. Being romantic about Major League Baseball is a whole different matter that we all struggle with.
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Heavily recommend you folks read this piece. MLB owners have been trying to break the union for over 30 years, what’s going on isn’t new.
An important sentence here: “at the onset of negotiations, owners expressed a willingness to reallocate the money that goes to players but not to increase it. In other words, the pie could change but not grow any larger”. Ownership is more than willing to put the sport at risk rather than make 99.5% of the profit they would’ve otherwise made.
Projecting half of your team’s top 20 prospects to be important major leaguers is fun, but unrealistic. Kevin Goldstein goes through the reasons and the math behind that.
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