MLB, Red Sox, and MLBPA may take a knee on 2022
The Red Sox and the rest of MLB are in limbo as the labor dispute intensifies. The daily ramblings and Tweets show a clear division with the owners demonstrating some minor degree of panic with owners requesting an arbitrator. The players present a unified front, as are the owners, but that is all on the surface. Too bad baseball cannot resurrect Mother Jones and fashion her with a Louisville Slugger.
Time is at urgency but both sides were quite agreeable to let this issue simmer until mid-January before staging formal meetings. Two possible scenarios can result. The first is the most painful for those who thirst from their baseball fix, and that is, this strike rolls on through what would be spring training and possibly beyond.
The players are faced with a loss of income, as are the owners. Resplendent in 10,000 square foot residences, mega yachts, private jets, and side chicks need funding, and that is just the player’s perspective. The outlay is far more significant for billionaire owners, but their income stream is quite different. The money pressure is more on the players.
Damage control is essential to both warring factions as fans and especially advertisers will saddle up behind one side or the other. I happen to be entrenched in that middle world that would put on a curse that Indiana Jones would appreciate.
I do note frustration on social media over the snarl. Maybe a baseball Greta Thunberg can pad into the negotiation room and scream “How dare you” at both sides? Highly unlikely but immensely enjoyable.
The second possible outcome is in the next few weeks; each side presents a few more ancillary compromises, and tiny increments have happened over a bonus pool, service time, and the possible acceptance of the universal designated hitter.
That leaves the more core issues to be resolved that stretch from the mundane to the critical. Playoff expansion, international draft, competitive balance tax, minimum salary, and revenue sharing can undoubtedly drag on and on. The tedious and ponderous negotiation process, but once the flood gates open, the end of the labor issue could be quick.
I will take door number one, Monty, and state this will linger like a week-long migraine. Both sides appear on the surface rather casual in their approach. Historically, the picture is not pretty, as other seasons were interrupted, started late, or ended up on the autopsy table.
The news cycle is stripped of its meat for the Red Sox fan, and only baseball bones are left. Speculative stories such as the possible signing of free-agent Seiya Suzuki, or the non-speculative such as the hiring Anthony Lapoce as Senior Hitting Coordinator, and the feel-good with the election of David Ortiz to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Delay into what would be the regular schedule will have consequences. This was notably in the 1994 strike that killed the playoffs and attendance. A miracle happened thanks to a long ball frenzy inspired by pharmaceuticals and a baseball that may have had more juice than the players. Fans are in; you won’t fool me twice phase on this manipulation.
I consider myself an ardent baseball fan, but already a potential road trip to Baltimore in April is on the verge of being scrubbed. Other possible trips may follow, and so will journey’s to Fenway Park. What I save on expenditures creates a negative on hospitality balance sheets.