August 13, 2002
The Daily Prospectus
Dateless and Thrilled About ItYesterday, the executive council of the MLBPA declined to set a strike date, choosing instead to continue on in good faith, with the hopes that no strike date would be required, and a settlement could be reached. Speculation is that an agreement could come as early as the end of this week, and the specter of a labor stoppage could be crammed back in its sarcophagus for another few years.
No matter how cynical one might be, this has to be taken as a positive development. A new CBA isn't going to magically create a trusting, blood-brother relationship between players and owners, but at least it's a step in the right direction. Since the 1995 labor accord came into being, it's been considered a fait accompli that when that agreement expired, we'd face another labor stoppage. It'd be nice to move forward with a new agreement with an atmosphere of hope rather than fear. (Hope, for you Royals fans, is when you have kind of a good, warm feeling, and you believe something positive is likely to happen.)
I'd like to see a lot of looming problems simply vanish from the milieu of baseball. Labor negotiations, political infighting, extortion, borderline perjury--it all gets a little too close to the screenplay for a Scorsese film.
In an attempt to create a more positive atmosphere, I'd like to suggest that anyone and everyone who considers themselves a baseball fan make a financial statement of goodwill. Go to the ballpark. Go early. Buy stuff for your kids they don't need. Pay $19 for two dogs and two beers. Park next to the stadium for $15. Late in the game, buy some cotton candy. If you're lucky enough to get a foul ball, act like you're bobbling it, and make a kid's entire life by shoving it into his chest, and pretending he or she got it. (Don't decry the mercenary nature of players and owners, and then turn into a bloody mess during a vicious Darwinian melee for a notable home run.)
In return, the owners should take the painful and unilateral step of freezing or reducing prices for everything at the park for two years. That also means no expansion of time between innings for more ads. The MLBPA will meet this measure of good will by investing in the game through the purchase of enough land in every MLB city to create a youth baseball park. Should run somewhere in the neighborhood of $30 million, or approximately $40K per player on the 25-man roster. Umpires will join the party by agreeing to immediately turn their back and walk away from any potential confrontation with a player or manager during the next year.
Generosity heals. There's room for everyone to behave in a more generous fashion. With that in mind, we will be scheduling another Pizza Feed or two pretty quickly here, and we'd like to make them fundraisers. One will be in the East Bay, with the proceeds from a suggested $10 donation going to Hopalong Animal Rescue.
We'll let you know when the location and time are finalized.
Gary Huckabay is an author of Baseball Prospectus. You can contact him by clicking here.