Well, hello! It’s me, your friendly weekly columnist here at Think Blue Planning Committee, who has turned into a broken record. There’s nothing new to report, nothing new to write about specifically in the world of Dodgers baseball. Did you miss me?￼
This past week, however, has been a week unlike all the others. There is incredible heartache, unrest, and anger all over our country right now. Indeed, the world is reeling from the senseless brutality against our black counterparts, and we ache along with them.￼￼
Also, this past week the MLB Players Association submitted its reply to the owners about what they would like to see happen if baseball resumes this season. Dennis touched on a lot of it in his column Tuesday, but the thing that struck me the most is that the owners said that there was going to be no negotiation from their side.
There was nothing they would negotiate. Think about that. Baseball has been sidelined by a worldwide pandemic for going on three months now, you’re in danger of losing fans, and there is absolutely nothing that you will negotiate? You’re honestly so obtuse as to think you know best about everything, and therefore are unwilling to budge on any concessions that may make players happy, more willing to play, and more comfortable with making the owners more money.
I hear the sentiment of the people who are blaming players, or both-siding the issue. Unemployment in this country is a real issue. Plenty of people don’t know when they’ll go back to work, don’t know if they have enough money to pay their rent, feed their kids, or pay medical bills. They see players as millionaires who just need to suck this up.
I get that. I really do. It’s hard to look at people who make a lot of money to play a kids game and not feel some sort of annoyance, if not disgust. Even if they play for less money, they’ll still be fine, right?
What I don’t get is letting the owners completely off the hook. Yes, of course they are losing money, too. Everyone is! (Except maybe some inside info people in Congress, but I digress). But they can afford to lose more money because they have so much of it.
Also, everything is not about the money. The game of baseball feels like it’s at a tipping point. MLB has been losing fans for years, and has tried implementing changes to either keep fans or attract new ones. A pitch clock so the game moves faster for those who think baseball is boring. Juiced balls because the people want to see excitement and home runs. So now in this time of depression both economically and mentally you want to hold up the entire season to make the players play for less money, and it’s all non-negotiable?
Scores of minor league players have been let go. There aren’t going to be any minor league games this season, and attendance at many of those small town parks was in decline before this. The draft is also going to be very pared down.
Buster Olney said in a radio interview he thinks there’s a good chance some key players sit out this year if it’s only a 50-game season. He mentions Mookie Betts as one of those players. Again, MLB, is this what you want? Your superstar players to feel like it’s better for them not to play at all? What does that say about your sport as a whole?
Speaking of Buster, things have a trickle down effect. If sports are not played, people can’t write about it. If people can’t write about baseball, then their employer doesn’t feel the need to employ them anymore. Today both The Athletic and SB Nation announced that they had to cut some of their staff. More people unemployed. ￼￼
As with the whole world, there’s those with the money and power who just want to bend the rest of us plebeians to their will. (Mike Trout and Mookie Betts and Clayton Kershaw et al are hardly plebs, but you get what I’m saying). They try to ram through their agenda without input or really hearing those who it will impact the most. It is we fans who will really have the most to lose.
If you want to completely side with the owners, hey, have at it. I’m not here to tell you how to think. But now is not the time for stubbornness. Entities need to work together to figure this out. ￼
As with our country, I hope this is all rectified before it is too late. Some are posturing that because this is getting out, it means there are negations, that silence would be worse. I don’t know what to believe with that. But this is MLB’s job to save this sport from limping into 2022 and a new players agreement that truly handicaps baseball forever.
We’ll see what the next week brings. Hopefully it’s brighter in all capacities. Until then, be good to one another and don’t be racist.