Bob Sr.: Yes!
Major League Baseball is in quite a quandary.
Attendance this season is down 5 percent. The Major League Baseball
owners tried to begin solving their financial problems by
downsizing. But the players' union went to court along with
individual teams and scotched that for now at least.
union and the owners do not have a new labor agreement and haven't
had since last year. They have been in negotiations from time to
time since, but so far they apparently are not even close to a new
labor contract. So this week, the New York Times reported that the
players' union is talking about going on strike in August.
union is careful to state that it is just talk at this time, but
that something has to be done to get the negotiations moving
Then there is the politics of the situation. Major-
league owners have spent a record amount of money lobbying members
of Congress, to try and get legislation on their side to help solve
the main problem plaguing baseball.
OK, so what exactly is the
main problem with baseball?
Here it is, simply stated. The rich
teams win the championships. The financially poorer teams don't have
a chance at being competitive. So the same teams are in the playoffs
each year and in the World Series.
That's it. That is the central
Then there are a myriad of other problems. The owners
claim most of their teams are losing money. The players say that's
not true. The players claim the financial statements released to the
public hide certain money to make it appear many teams are
There is the "free agency" problem. Players
have the right under the current although expired labor agreement,
that after they are in the major leagues a certain amount of time,
they become free agents and are able to make their own deal with
whatever team they want. This drives the players' salaries up and
up, and puts us back to the main problem.
The wealthier teams can
afford to pay the big bucks, they get the better players and they
win games and championships. The other teams lose their good
players, the fans get mad at the players leaving their team, and get
mad at the owner for not paying to keep their better players, so
they don't go to the games in numbers that the owner must have to
How many times have I heard fans say something to the
effect that they are no longer going to go to Major League Baseball
games because the players make too much money; or because the owners
won't pay what they should to keep good players.
The last time
there was a strike in Major League Baseball it wiped out the
playoffs and the World Series, and as you perhaps will remember it
almost wiped out Major League Baseball. Neither the owners nor the
players want a work stoppage, no matter what the players say about
going on strike. Both sides realize their golden goose could be
cooked it they do stop playing in the middle of the season.
badly as I hate to say it, I really believe that Major League
Baseball is at a point where there must be some help given by the
government to solve the main problem. Simply stated, there must be
some sort of cost-sharing agreement among teams. Or some sort of
situation whereby teams can all share in the proceeds from the large-
market teams like in New York and Los Angeles, and the smaller
market teams like in Minnesota and Montreal.
I hate government
intervention in sports, but we are at the point where that seems to
be the only solution. The other pro sports have these types of
agreements, why can't Major League Baseball? So far litigation by
the players union has prevented that from happening.
As to the
main question, can baseball survive another strike? Yes, it
certainly will. Baseball is a great sport. Perhaps the greatest in
combining the individual and team concept in one sport.
road is a rocky one. Hopefully the two sides and the government will
throw strikes and not the kind that has baseball going out swinging. …