Friday Newsletter time: Progress on the labor front? Another meeting is on the agenda
The players are reportedly planning to counter the economic proposal offered last week by the owners.
Time is wasting away in the labor dispute between baseball’s owners and players, with the owner-imposed lockout threatening to delay the start of spring training and potentially the start of the regular season.
Maybe both sides finally are taking that to heart.
The players are reportedly planning to present their counterproposal Monday to the owners’ latest economic proposals. The sides will meet in person rather than over video conferencing.
Someone should bar the doors behind them until they come up with a new collective bargaining agreement.
That won’t happen, of course, but Monday is roughly three weeks out from when teams are scheduled to begin heading to spring training. The Texas Rangers are eyeing Feb. 16.
That won’t happen without a CBA, or possibly enough moment toward a CBA for the owners to lift the lockout.
Players weren’t too happy with what ownership presented last week. Players want more money sooner in their careers and would like to see the arbitration system altered. They also want to find a way to prevent teams from tanking to create a more competitive free-agent market.
What optimism there is that the regular season won’t be affected stems from the belief that both sides know what’s a stake. Losing games would be a catastrophe, even if it’s only a handful of games, on the PR front.
Baseball can’t afford to fall further behind the NFL and NBA in popularity, and the owners and players are smart enough to know that.
So, if you’re the optimistic type, put your stock in that. You’ll have to forget that sides weren’t smart enough to reach an amicable agreement on how to conduct the 2020 season during the pandemic.
Maybe, then, they have learned their lesson.
Still dubious? Well, you’re not alone.
New A’s home?
One of baseball’s biggest pains in the neck the past decade might actually be ending happily. The A’s might be getting a new ballpark in Oakland.
Of course, nothing is easy with the A’s or governance in California. The A’s had to satisfy environmentalists and ensure that low-cost housing would be made available in the $12 billion Howard Terminal development project.
The project still must satisfy the Oakland city council, which doesn’t seem like a slam dunk. The mayor, though, essentially declared victory for the project, so there’s that.
It’ll be a sad day when the Oakland Coliseum is no more, only because I’ll no longer have a go-to punching bag if I need a cheap joke during Rangers road series. If the project is green-lighted, it would mean baseball won’t be going to Las Vegas anytime soon.
That’s disappointing, but it will probably save me thousands of dollars in the long run.
Meanwhile, MLB shut down Tampa Bay’s plan to play a split home schedule, with half its games in Montreal.
Which stadium is better, the Coliseum or Tropicana Field? Thanks for asking. The answer is Tropicana Field, which has a roof, reliable plumbing, and is easy to navigate. The Rays just need to add food trucks as the A’s did a few seasons back.
Card of the Week
Tuesday is a big day in baseball, as the Class of 2022 for the National Baseball Hall of Fame will be revealed. It’s entirely possible that no player is elected for the second straight year.
David Ortiz has the best chance, according to the latest available data from Ryan Thibodaux of the Baseball Hall of Fame Tracker. Ortiz is on 83.8% of the known ballots. A player must appear on 75% of the ballots to be elected.
Next in line is Barry Bonds at 77.5%. Below is the Card of the Week, Bonds’ 1987 Donruss rookie card. (It’s terrific set for rookies, including both Maddux brothers.)
Roger Clemens is also above the threshold at 76.3%
He and Bonds clearly have Hall of Fame numbers but aren’t in because of their ties to performance-enhancing drugs. Ortiz has also been linked to PEDs. The unknown vote has typically been harsh to the PED players, and Bonds and Clemens are treading water.
This is their 10th and final year on the ballot. If they aren’t voted in, they can still make it through various committees that look at particular eras of the game.
In the spirit of transparency, Ortiz, Bonds and Clemens were on my HOF ballot.
This one cracked me up. Have a good weekend. See you Monday.