It’s no longer a lockout with the players and owners. Call this gridlock with a Monday deadline set by MLB to the MLBPA for an agreement to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, or should I say the start of a new baseball season is in jeopardy?
Take the latter because this is sizing up to be worse than the 1994 stoppage of the game that caused a World Series cancellation and a travesty overall that cost the owners and players. If I was a betting man, and I am not, the 2022 season will be delayed and damage control will be difficult to overcome.
I said last week comprehending the numbers that are proposed during these negotiations are not a concern of the fans and those who are employed at the ballparks. Fans want baseball to start on time. The ticket sellers, concession workers, security personnel, and others want a resolution because baseball for many of them is their livelihood.
Luxury taxes, salary thresholds, competitive balance? Do you care when millionaires and billionaires are battling over dollars and cents, though from the outside looking in the players have a point because 74 percent of their union members are not classified as millionaires.
Very few are earning Max Scherzer, Gerrit Cole, Mike Trout, Giancarlo Stanton, and Francisco Lindor contracts. Players are supposedly fighting for that 74 percent if you are on their side of the bargaining table.
So, there’s definitely that imbalance of a contract earned because of service time and free agency. I am as confused as you are about the numbers and specifics that are detailed with reports from intense bargaining sessions this week with players and owners in Jupiter, Florida.
Instead, we are also on the clock. Will there be baseball in four weeks? Negotiations could be extended and the deadline could move because the owners may be pulling a power play on the players. Then again that is speculation.
And if there are games lost to the schedule, (bet on that) if and when an agreement is in place, owners have said no makeups or pay for the players and their union, which will probably lead to another dispute or prolong this lockout.
More of this continues and we lose interest. At this point, I am not making plans to be in the press box at Citi Field four weeks from Thursday, which is supposed to be Opening Day with the Mets and Nationals.
Realize, of course there are more significant issues than baseball, but it always was a significant day on the calendar for many. And we lost most of the 2020 season due to the COVID Pandemic which was a different circumstance.
But then, as is now, it was again about economics. A battle with the owners and players regarding a curtailed 60-game season was bitter. The players gave in then, and the ugly resolution to salvage their season still exists.
I hear from the fans on social media. Fans are also venting on sports talk radio. Some take the owners point of view. A good many are disgusted and turning their attention to other sports that I call the world of fun and games.
Baseball and their game of economics is confusing while the NBA, NHL, “March Madness” of college basketball, Major League Soccer, and boxing are ongoing.
In the end, a bitter labor dispute with owners and players is leading to other interests. To those at the bargaining table, fans losing interest has to be a major concern, even though when this is resolved they have short memories and will slowly return to the ballparks.
However, Monday and a deadline is crucial. Though, I expect the gridlock to continue with this lockout.
Aaron Judge, A Longtime Yankee?: Aaron Judge is the face of the Yankees and he said last week “I’d be honored to wear pinstripes for a couple more years.”
He is eligible for free agency after the 2022 season. Though, with this lockout and new CBA to be determined, the Aaron Judge contract situation is all talk, because, and here we go again, salary thresholds of teams will determine length and how much will the Yankees hierarchy pay their outfield slugger.
I would highly doubt Yankees’ owner Hal Steinbrenner allowing Judge to walk as that would also cause further turmoil with a fan base that is World Series starved.
And dismiss those rumors of owner Steve Cohen and Judge beginning a long and lucrative tenure with the Mets. The Yankees have a tendency to always return their guy and need to remind you about the continuous time and contract extension for the Captain Derek Jeter.
Yes, the Yankees, Mets, Angels, and Dodgers will see the complexion change with salary structures incorporated with this new CBA, teams that occupied the highest payrolls in 2021.
But rest assured, Aaron Judge will continue to be the longtime, and well paid, Yankee in the Bronx,
Rich Mancuso: Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso