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
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