BY LESLIE MONTEIRO
(Photo cover: New York Post back page of March 2, 2015)
No one should have been surprised MLB commissioner Rob Manfred canceled the first two series of the 2022 season the other day.
To say it’s just two series, that’s just semantics. He should have just canceled the first month of the season because everyone knows it’s going to happen.
The owners seemed hellbent on making sure the first month of the season gets canceled just to get their point across, which is beating the MLB Players Association in forcing them to agree on the Collective Bargaining Agreement on their terms. This has been their plan going back a few years ago.
I used to think we would have a baseball season this summer, but now I am not so sure. Just a few weeks ago, I was 70% sure that we would get a season. Now, it’s 50%. This means I am not really sure. It could go either way here. Ask me in June where we are heading.
If anyone braces for the worst, no one can blame him or her here. There are some owners who would prefer to not have a season just so they can get that dreaded salary cap they crave. Most importantly, they want to break the MLBPA union. So many owners have been smarting over MLBPA since the days of Marvin Miller. There are owners who haven’t forgotten about the 1994 strike, and this time they want to rectify it for good. From their perspective, if it means losing money and losing a season, so be it.
When Rockies owner Dick Monfort oversees the MLB Labor Committee with Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick, Angels owner Arte Moreno and Tigers owner Chris Ilitch working behind the scenes, it should be a telltale sign the players should brace for a fight from the owners.
It might have as well been a charade that the owners and the lawyers burned the midnight oil early Tuesday morning to reach an agreement. They had no intention of doing so. They only did this for public relations by indicating they tried and it’s the players’ fault.
Here’s the problem with this idea: The fans are not buying it. They know the score by understanding the owners craved for a salary cap and lowering salaries going back to 1994. They known for years the owners planned on having a shutdown once the collective bargaining agreement expired.
If supposedly owners want to have a shortened season just to get more teams in the playoffs and cut players’ service time, what incentive do the players have to even agree on a collective bargaining agreement in June? Why would the players want to even help the owners out? That’s why it’s not farfetched to think there may not be a season after all.
I used to think owners would be crazy to lose money, but the more I think about it, they are going to be just fine with the lockout. Remember they make money through other means of their vocation. Plus, Major League Baseball protects them fine such as the Internet deal via MLB Advanced Media and the TV deal from Fox, Turner Sports, ESPN and NBC’s Peacock service.
When baseball makes $11 billion in revenue, owners certainly ain’t crying for money. There really is no reason for work stoppage in baseball. It’s already personal, and the owners are not hiding it.
The luxury tax and competitive balance are nothing more than just fluff. This is about the owners wanting to make sure the players get theirs such as making sure they control the service time, not the players.
The fans see this, which is why the players are winning the public relations war. The owners are not even defending themselves here. This is just such a bad look for them.
The owners in baseball leave so much to be desired. They are close-minded. They run their franchise like a mom-and-pop operation store. Most players tend to move on rather than stay with their team once they hit free agency. Players fail to get promoted by their own teams as teams disguise it as a team in the name of ownership.
It doesn’t speak well of them when the fans have finally supported the players. That was unheard of going back to the 1994 strike.
A salary cap in baseball would be nice, but let’s face it: The owners are still not going to make their teams any better or keep their own players in the end. They just want to limit salaries.
This is why all of this is a sham by the owners. This is why this is a waste of time to even have the lockout. Players see through that, and so do the fans.
It’s sad they want to treat players like indentured servants rather than being partners of the sport. This is just another reason why baseball is out of touch with the fan. This explains why no kid wants to play baseball anymore.
It’s a dying sport that the owners seem committed to making it dead, even if it means destroying the players union.
Manfred has been more than happy to take the hits for the owners. It’s what he was hired and paid to do by them. It’s hard to believe he can be happy about his sport being shut down. No commissioner is. He is basically nothing more than a pawn for them.
It would be nice to hear from one of the owners to show they care, but they look at us the way they look at the players, which is nothing more than just being a gum in their shoe.
Just reading the tea leaves, they sure seem committed to not having a 2022 season or even 2023.
That message was sent a few days ago. Quite frankly, it was sent four years ago.