This is your daily dose of depressing baseball news. And since I love you beautiful San Francisco Giants fans so much, it’s actually the second daily dose, after Sami so graciously provided the first.
The update that we’ve all be nervously hoping wouldn’t come is waiting on the doorstep. Its finger is hovering over the Nest doorbell as it inspects the device curiously. As soon as it can figure out this newfangled technology, it’ll ring the bell and be here.
That’s how close we are to having canceled baseball games, with Monday, February 28 being the day that MLB set as the last opportunity to reach an agreement on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) before lining up games and knocking them off the calendar (I maintain that setting the date at Monday means the date is really Wednesday or Thursday, but that’s rather trivial).
And while it shouldn’t be shocking or even remotely surprising, the saddest element of negotiations seems to be this: the owners, greedy and frugal billionaires that they all are, are very comfortable with the concept of shooting the game they’ve been tasked with developing and growing in the foot, merely to suppress the paychecks of the people who generate the revenue for the billion-dollar companies.
The rhetoric is ratcheting up. As @EvanDrellich said, MLB suggested in the first meeting with the MLBPA today that the league is willing to cancel a month's worth of games. What that means, or whether it's simply a threat, is unclear, but players have taken it as a clear threat.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 28, 2022
Make no mistake: this a situation created entirely by the owners. Player pay has been in decline for four straight seasons, which is a choice made by the owners. Negotiations in anticipation of December’s CBA expiration were virtually nonexistent, which is a choice made by the owners. There’s been essentially no movement during the three-month lockout on account of the owners taking literal months between offering proposals which, you guessed it, is a choice made by the owners.
They’ve built towards this for years and, whenever given the chance to adjust and prepare in a more responsible manner, chose to do nothing.
Why? Because they’re greedy, and because they can.
What pressure can really be applied to a group of team owners so rich and powerful that they won't face actual consequences, could never lose enough money to feel it, and are largely insulated from public reaction?— Aaron Gleeman (@AaronGleeman) February 28, 2022
None. They're untouchable. That's what we're seeing now, sadly.
When that’s the situation, it’s easy to negotiate in bad faith. Although to claim that MLB has been negotiating in bad faith would be to claim that they’ve been negotiating at all, which doesn’t seem to be true. So I suppose they’re just existing in bad faith.
And yet, all hope is not lost. We could still be watching the Giants take on the San Diego Padres on the final day of March, even if it will be in spite of the powerful people in baseball, not because of them.
There seems to be some momentum now in MLB/players talks. Nothing done, and certainly no guarantee. But there’s a bit more optimism at this hour.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) March 1, 2022
Sources: Deal not close, but not impossible. CBT thresholds, prearb pool big issues, among others. MLB has proposed two choices:— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) March 1, 2022
A: 14-team expanded postseason, minimum of ~$700k, ~40m into prearb pool
B: 12-team expanded postseason, ~$675k minimum, ~$20m into prearb pool
And if you really need a pep talk to feel optimistic, look no further than MLB’s fearless leader, who I can confidently say loves baseball as much as I love giving my cacti high fives.
Commissioner Rob Manfred on way back: “We’re working at it” pic.twitter.com/vasSITXu7q— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) February 28, 2022
And while I have you here, don’t forget to cancel the auto-renew on your MLB TV subscription. The league announced that they won’t renew until the lockout is resolved, but still ... as soon as they sign a deal, they’ll take your money, and you can bet your butt they know exactly how much is signed up to take. So do your part to limit that figure.