BY LESLIE MONTEIRO
(Photo credit: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
Baseball’s owners and players will convene all week to get a collective bargaining agreement that would end the lockout.
This sounds encouraging for fans that want to see Opening Day this season. That’s how low of a bar they have on players and owners in ending the stalemate. Talking has become hope.
Don’t expect anything to come out of this. It will be the same old thing. Players and owners disagree on almost everything. This isn’t about an agreement. This is about the owners trying to make a point by getting their much-desired salary cap and beating the players in the process. Until they win, nothing is changing.
The players and owners talking may as well sound like public relations rather than action.
Baseball should be thankful some fans even care about the negotiations at this point. The sport has been dead with analytics killing it such as spin rate, launch angle, shift, spray charts and bullpenning. Games take too long, too. MLB postseason gets lower ratings for a reason.
Baseball has been sliding in recent years when it comes to fans’ conscience. The sport is unwatchable. The owners don’t want to promote their players. Most of the teams have been tanking rather than going for it. You can see an empty seat anywhere when you turn on a baseball game on TV. There are better entertainment options out there for baseball such as video games, MMA fighting and so much more.
It would behoove the owners and players to get an agreement. If there is no season, the sport could be finished before you know it. Yes, fans will still watch, but the majority would move on. This is a sport that can’t even get kids to watch its product anymore as it is.
Quite frankly, baseball never recovered from the 1994 strike despite what baseball wonks and apologists want to tell you. This is a sport that needed to rely on steroids to get fans engaged again when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa decided to take it for the fraudulent home run record single-season chase. It came up with a gimmick called interleague play to raise interest again.
Baseball sold its principles since it lost its appeal to the fans. Football and basketball overtook the sport. It is no longer the nation’s pastime, and there’s a good chance it never will be whether there is a season or not. Ever since the 1994 strike, baseball succumbed to its No. 1 status to the NFL.
It is troubling to see what has gone on. Owners deserve most of the blame since it’s their sport. Players are nothing more than just workers. The owners can end the lockout if they want to. How is it owners of the NFL, NHL and NBA can make it all work with the players? Yes, baseball players can be greedy in their own right, but baseball is a billion-dollar business that owners should make this work with the players.
This is about ego with the owners. They are tired of losing to the players every time in negotiations like this. Most small-market owners are willing to cancel the season out of spite. For them, it’s about the greater good and saving the health of the game.
It’s hard to take owners seriously about ending a lockout when incompetent Rockies owner Dick Monfort serves as the chairman of the owners’ labor policy committee. Monfort has been known to be a skinflint when it comes to paying players and players leave the Rockies since he wouldn’t pay them. That tells you everything right there about the owners’ intentions.
The owners know they can afford a lockout and cancellation of a season since they make money in other means of their vocation. Players don’t have that luxury, so the owners are banking on a long fight with the union.
It’s hard to root for the owners here. They make so much money. Shame on them if there is no season. The fans even know this is more of a problem with the owners than the players.
Look for baseball to be played this season. It’s not going to be Opening Day, though. Look for the season to start sometime after Memorial Day at the latest. If this lockout extends all the way to June, there’s a good chance we won’t have a season.
The owners know they can’t afford a missed season, even if they won’t lose money. With people still being unemployed and the sport basically dying, they can’t afford to have their sport take another public relation hit. Right now, the fans tend to side with the players, so this can’t help the owners’ cause.
Mets manager Buck Showalter hung out at Port St. Luice to confer with Mets front office and working with the young players for weeks now. He should go back home to Dallas because there won’t be a resolution anytime soon despite his optimism.
Baseball fans already know the score.
Here’s the only thing left out of this lockout: Do the owners dare cancel the season?
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