SI.com Fantasy Minors College Baseball Baseball

  Posted: Wednesday August 21, 2002 1:24 PM
Updated: Thursday August 22, 2002 12:15 PM


Which side is at fault in the labor war?
Read what CNNSI.com readers had to say on the topic.
Don't be a player hater


Want to play the blame game? Don't point a finger at Tom Glavine and the rest of the players who rightly want to share the wealth of baseball. AP

By Jacob Luft

Apparently, being rich and being smart do not always go hand in hand.

That is what baseball owners are proving in amazingly redundant fashion.

With General Custer -- er, Bud Selig -- leading the way, the owners have created another last stand that has the game on the edge of ruin.

They have turned themselves blue in the face trying to convince us the current economic system is broken. They can't seem to break even on a revenue stream of $3.5 billion, and it's all the players' fault. The blame lies on Alex Rodriguez for accepting a $252 million contract. Yeah, right.

Of course, we don't get to look at that ledger ourselves; we have to take their word for it. B. Duane Cross over there has fallen for their sob story hook, line and sinker. He also is a proud owner of 2,000 shares of Enron stock.

Sure, competitive balance is a problem, but some organizations (i.e., Brewers, Pirates, Tigers) are too myopic to win under any circumstances.

The players have compromised on several fronts, including drug testing, revenue sharing and the draft. The luxury tax is where the union draws the line, because it is a de facto salary cap.

For 30 years, the union consistently has routed the owners in labor wars. But Selig's boys are inspired by David Stern's bludgeoning of the NBA union in 1999. They think they can win this time, in much the same way the Generals hope for an occasional win against the Globetrotters.

Selig would be wise to take what he can and chip away a little more in the next round of talks, but the owners think they can make up for three decades of losses all at once.

That's not only illogical, it's flat out stupid.

Onus not on owners


See those chains? That's what a lockout looks like. If you want to see a strike, check out the player making the league minimum driving away in his Benz. AP

By B. Duane Cross

Labor unions in the U.S. began forming in the early 19th century. Influenced by the Industrial Revolution, unions were a response, in part, to rising production expectations, increased hours, decreasing pay and unsafe working conditions.

None of that applies to the modern day baseball players' union.

I've never owned a business or a sports team. I'm the quintessential worker bee. I am paid to make money for my boss. And from that perspective, it's clear that the players' union has lost sight of the fact players are employees. No union can change that. Don't like making money for The Man? Put your own cash on the line and start your own business.

The players are not taking the financial risk involved with being an owner. At last check no player's signature -- or even Don Fehr's -- was on the dotted line for any of the 30 major league teams. When the bills are due, players aren't responsible to the banks; the team owner is.

The players' union doesn't make fiscal decisions for Major League Baseball. The owners have the ultimate authority to set salaries -- up or down. If a player doesn't like a multi-million dollar offer, go get a job. Until then, try to imagine working an everyday fan's job that pays mere meal money on the major league level.

If baseball owners want to launch a "wholesale attack on the salary structure" (thanks for the theatrics, Don), so be it. It's their right; it's their game. Fehr & Co. didn't complain while owners raised player salaries to their current exorbitant levels, and they shouldn't holler now just because owners are finally coming to their senses.

Until the players begin taking on the fiscal responsibilities of the teams, they have no say in how much they should be paid.

 


 
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