Tuesday, June 16, 2020

MLB: We have met the virus, and it is us.

If you're scoring at home - that is, if you still follow the rancid MLB labor/pandemic fiasco - you've known for weeks that time was running out for the 2020 season. 

Yesterday, Commissioner/Chief Owner Shill Rob Manfred finally owned up to the pleasant reality that baseball might not happen this year. Writes Tyler Kepner in today's Times:

Manfred and the hard-line owners are terrified of walking into a trap by offering the players’ union a schedule before agreeing on health and safety protocols. That could potentially bring legal action from the players, so the safest route — to a large-enough segment of owners — is to blow up the season and save a lot of money.
If they cancel the 2020 season, rather than implement a mini-schedule of, say, 48 games instead of the usual 162, the owners would save about $1.2 billion in pro-rated player salaries. They also would save themselves the risk of losing another $1 billion or so if an arbitrator sided with the players in court this winter.
Three days ago, Manfred vowed to play a season, costs be damned! What a man! Now, he's doubtful. What happened? Money called. (And when it's Money on the line, they always take the call.) Money said, "Jesus Christ, Manfred, what the fuck!" And Manfred replied, "I'm sorry, sir. I made a mistake. By the way, your laundry is ready."

So, here we are, back where we always end up in crises: Both sides entrenched, glaring at each other, needing desperately to pee, waiting for the other to flinch. We've seen this movie, read this book, sang the song...  

The Boss said, "Poor man wanna be rich, rich man wanna be king." Journey said, "Some will win, some will lose, some are born to sing the blues." Slade said, "So you think my singing's out of time? Well, it makes me money. And I don't know why. I don't know why - anymore." 

I say, in the battle between billionaires and millionaires, bet the side with the extra zeroes. And today, that side is willing to blow up the season. So, Cum on, Feel the Noise.

For weeks, I've been kidding myself about 2020. I honestly thought the sides would converge and, for the sake of the game, play a season. They still might. But this we know: It will be horrible, we will loathe it, and almost surely, a few players will get sick, and one might even die. At that point, we'll know it was a mistake. But Money will call, and we will have its laundry.

So, maybe this impasse is a blessing. Sadly, we might never know, because of the Money. It amazes me how fans always hold high salaries against the players, while letting the owners - whose wealth is never outlined in news stories - escape criticism. For that, I blame the Gammonites, sportswriters who gleefully measure performance to salaries, without looking at the broader economic picture. On this, Kepner is an exception.

Players simply do not believe owners who claim that the sport is not very profitable. They noticed when the Kansas City Royals sold for $1 billion last year after being purchased for $96 million in 2000. They noticed when the league struck a reported $1 billion deal last weekend with Turner Sports for its portion of postseason TV rights.
We all should notice. The owners cannot lose, unless the game itself is broken. On that note, let's give Kepner the final word:

Alas, the next generation often seems of little concern to the league. M.L.B. will likely shutter dozens of minor league franchises next season, and it slashed last week’s draft to five rounds, from 40. Both are short-sighted moves that will shrink the game’s overall reach, drain its talent pool and drive away people who could help grow the sport, whether they reach the majors or not.
Sadly, though, those decisions are consistent with the strategy of a league that has now committed virtual treason against the fans by publicly floating the idea of canceling the season, just days after Manfred promised otherwise. It is a shameful abdication of leadership.


Rufus T. Firefly said...

MiLB is actually the bigger sin.

Fuck 'em all.

Anonymous said...

MLB players are already testing positive. The real bottom line is that it was damn near impossible to pull off to begin with.

That said, as Mr. Firefly and so many others here have said... Fuck 'em all.

Or as perhaps more accurately, as the real Mr. Firefly said back when he was Professor Wagstaff...

I don't know what they have to say
It makes no difference anyway
Whatever it is, I'm against it
No matter what it is or who commenced it
I'm against it!

Your proposition may be good
But let's have one thing understood:
Whatever it is, I'm against it
And even when you've changed it or condensed it
I'm against it!

Doug K.

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...

I am a fan of the NY Yankees. My team came back from the shit only after the purchase by one GM Steinbrenner, who was not an exemplary human being. Not by a long shot.

So: As I am old, and GMS bought the team some 47 years ago, I am quite comfortable with the owners of MLB being total A-holes. Including the guy(s) who now run the team, the sons of GMS. And the other 29 ownership people/groups.

Therefore: I find it strange that anyone on IIH, including our star bloggers, could start whipping the collective ownership with a wet noodle.

Putting all of that aside for a moment, it is. now June 16. If all of baseball, including the players, got their collective act together tomorrow morning, when would the season begin? On the other side of July 4th, at the earliest, after a 2nd spring training. And how many arms would be ruined?

Would they allow people in the ballparks . . . what, each of us sitting 5 seats apart?

Where would they house the ballplayers on the visiting teams? Hospital clean rooms?


My personal beliefs on the virus are:

1 - no one knows anything just yet. I know old people with chronic conditions are "more likely" to get this thing and die from it. Yet there are a number of people age 30-49 who have been affected.

2 - are you really going to count on our governments to solve these problems? The national, state, or local? Really? Where the heck have you been, the planet Jupiter?

3 - All that's been accomplished -- in my opinion -- is to lessen the crippling impact of this virus on hospitals. That's it. AND: It's not a bad thing, considering.

Yes, a side effect is that we've destroyed our economy. I believe we'll all feel the impacts of that for years and years. However, if we can lessen the problems caused by this illness -- perhaps with an eye to fighting the next such a thing, too -- we'll gain in the long run.

I also note the debate on whether the recent resurgence in some places posits either of (a) the result of too-soon re-openings, or (b) a second wave. The frightening thought, for the country, is: What if a REAL second wave is yet to visit us?


I also know for a fact that Viruses Mutate. The last time I posted that sentence here, someone came out of the water and said I was wrong about that. No, I am not. Have you seen the article(s) about there being 11 varieties of this thing extant in California?

"Mutate' sounds bad. But viruses can also mutate to become less harmful.


Given these beliefs/opinions, I think keeping MLB on the sidelines right now is merited. If these people need things to think about and argue about, including the players and the $$$ bit, they can create plans for February-March-April 2021.

And, if my attitude is diffident, note that I really, really miss having the Yankee games on my computer, the Orioles and Nationals on my TV, and whatever nonsense the ESPN yakkers get up to every morning (in relaying results of the previous night's games).

But, as I said, I'm old. Some years ago, I gave up on the hope that I'd wake up in the morning 6-foor-4, with a jump shot. If I can deal with that, I can deal with a baseball-less 2020.


Anonymous said...

Certainly, Yankee fans should revere GMS for spending money and bringing back championships in the '70s. In the '80s, however, the boss got carried away with grand visions of personal greatness and turned the ball club into a soap opera. I think this era accounts for most of the bad feelings that Yankee fans have for the boss. His suspension from baseball was the best thing that could have happened for the Yankees at that point. It resulted in Gene Michael running the show and ended up winning more championships from 1996-2000 and in 2009.

I don't know if Prince Hal is one of the nasty owners holding up the bargaining, I hope not. The owners are getting some hate on this site, no doubt. They deserve it. They're trying to cut players' pay per game played, in the middle of a potentially deadly pandemic. WTF? The obvious, most reasonable solution is to simply pay them the pro rata salary per game. The owners trying to pay less than pro rata is what is driving the hate.

The Hammer of God

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