So as I read about baseball’s latest labor discussions, about arbitration and free agency, international drafts and manipulation of service time, here’s what I’m wondering:
Are baseball owners and players talking at all about their product? About the changes the game needs on the field?
In short, are they talking at all about you?
The game owes you something, baseball fans. It’s ok to be selfish. Heaven knows that baseball owners and players have been, particularly as they debate how to divide their billions, an extraordinary fact given how they’ve let their game deteriorate while demonstrating astonishingly little in the way of creativity. They bickered over money during a pandemic, for remember, sacrificing much of the 2020 season when they could have had the stage unto themselves. You needed them that summer. Instead, they fought over their money and left you locked in your home.
Ask yourselves this question: when was the last time the game sacrificed something … for you? The games are longer than ever, which means they want more of your time. There is less action, which means they expect more of your attention. In short, they ask for more, more, more – from you – while giving you less, less, less. That just doesn’t seem like a real relationship.
Of course, labor discussions are part of the sports world we live in. I get it. Every league has a collective bargaining agreement. But in discussions leading up to the baseball work stoppage that will begin tonight at midnight, we’ve read numerous reports about the “issues,” facing the game as it pertains to free agency, revenue allocation, even tanking – all rules that affect owners and players, and, perhaps, the quality of the competition.
But the things they don’t talk about – the product on the field – are the things that affect you the most.