Red Sox, MLB, and Player’s are putting a damper on the offseason
In the Northern Hemisphere, the toilet bowl water flushes clockwise, and so far, the Boston Red Sox, the other twenty-nine teams, and the Player’s Association are circling the drain clockwise.
The offseason was once known as the “Hot Stove League” back before electrification took over. Still, the title has been maintained and is essential to developing and maintaining interest in a near-perfect game.
One needs to look at FanSided and virtually all other media sites to see that the labor issue has put a fire blanket on the stove previously mentioned. The only significant interest is what fringe players have signed to play in Japan or Korea.
MLBTR has been reduced to articles on owners’ net worth, mind-numbing polls, and various “what if?” options. Discussing contracts, trades, extensions, free-agent contracts, and the other minutia that makes up the offseason is now in a holding pattern. I assume the aircraft will soon run out of fuel. Baseball is usually alive in the offseason, but now it is boring.
Labor disputes are not an evolutionary concept in baseball, as players even formed their ill-fated league in 1890. Labor needed to step up with a series of strikes, work stoppages, and dire threats. Each resulted in another slice of fan interest, which will be no different.
I should be staggered by the actions of both parties but am not. I have long been desensitized by the public labor-management conflict. That negotiations have stalled or been delayed until mid-January makes me question the cognitive abilities of all involved. Just what the hell are they thinking?
I have a bad feeling about this line is commonly inserted into various Star War pictures. My pessimism is surfacing at this juncture since it appears both sides are at a stalemate regarding moving forward. One would expect with the vast amounts of money involved would get any entrenchment kicked aside, but the real issue will be for those who eventually have to pay – the fans.
Neither side seems – at least from my view – to comprehend the damage done by this reluctance. Fans are why the salaries are being paid, and franchise values are often multi-billions. Urgency is at a sloth pace, and that will leave an irrevocable stain for the casual and even the most diehard of fans.
I am certainly not a casual fan and will make a value judgment that neither are you in the casual category. My patience is razor-thin on this current labor-management hostility. Once our fan base starts to erode, the game is in serious trouble, but that has a caveat.
The enjoyment of baseball at the professional level should not be exclusivity to the MLB teams. Easy access to minor league ball is available. This past summer, I enjoyed the WooSox experience just as I have had the PawSox for decades.
Maybe rising minor league attendance will resonate with the decision-makers? Of course, that depends upon the dispute lingering into the spring and summer. Even so, a resolution could impact how folks use their entertainment dollars, especially the baseball dollars.
In 1994 the strike fallout lingered for years as MLB slowly recovered attendance and interest. The main ingredient was a burgeoning home run explosion influenced by PEDs. This time around, a different recipe will be needed. Good luck.
My granddaughter gave me a Christmas present with a small sign saying: “Grumpy Person Ahead,” and that is apropos as I look at another stain being tossed on MLB. Both sides need to get this done.