Who is at fault, the owners or the players?Posted: Wednesday August 21, 2002 11:16 PM
We asked readers to choose sides in the labor war. Here's a sampling of what you had to say:
I'm with Duane Cross all the way -- call me a management lackey if you will.
Pro athletes are the only babies I know of (other than actors and that
proves my point) that need managers AND a union. My question is who goes to
the bathroom for these guys? A salary cap is NEEDED -- de facto, hidden or blared from the tops of Mt.
Everest. Yes, the players are helping save the owners from themselves but
there needs to be balance and small-market teams need to compete. Guys like
little Jake Luft are no doubt the same liberals who daily try to raid my
hard-earned paycheck for some putz who only wants to enjoy his smokes and
his street corners, so why not do it to save baseball?
Who cares anymore? Even if there is no strike, I am so disgusted I've lost total interest.
I've tried to study the position of the players and of the owners with an open mind. At the end of the day, however, all I see are a bunch of very large egos fighting to "win." A pox on both their houses. The fans are already so alienated from the game of baseball that it has become irrelevant. The very idea that a bunch of improbably wealthy individuals -- on both sides of the dispute -- have the nerve to appeal for the support of average, working Americans who struggle to make house payments and put their kids through college, is astonishing. Go ahead and strike. Go ahead and cancel the 2003 season. While you're at it, go ahead and cancel professional baseball permanently. Nobody really cares anymore.
Where did you find this guy Cross? "The players should have no say in what
they are paid" is the stupidest thing I have yet heard on this subject. This
strike, if it happens, is the fault of Selig and his band of losers. The only
thing I agree with the owners about is contraction, and Selig's Brewers should be the first to go.
Hello football season!!
I think the PLAYERS are acting like complete idiots ... The only reason
they HAVE this "job" is because the FANS pay to see them play. They're
griping about money, but if they don't play there won't BE any money for
them to collect... I wish I could cry about getting paid "only" 500k a year
... They have lost their focus on the GAME of baseball... I think
they have made such a mess of this that they might lose all but the most
die-hard of the fans. I know they've lost MY respect.
Until the owners open up their books to an independent audit chosen by
the Player's Association, they're "woe is me" complaints are about as
believable as Ken Lay's wife's tearful description of how poor she is.
I trust Selig about as far as I trust Anderson Accounting firms.
While I believe that BOTH sides are too blame for being TOO greedy ... I would have to agree with B. Duane Cross' article. MLB players are EMPLOYEES pure and simple. And while the owners are probably at fault for allowing salaries too rise TOO HIGH, it should be their decision and right to lower them.
Today's baseball players are a bunch of overpaid, under achieving
crybabies. Personally, I hope these idiots go on strike and never return.
Bring up some minor league players who haven't yet been spoiled by the
exorbitant salaries the current major leaguers are paid.
Although I would be broken hearted at the prospect of a strike I would support it if there was a wholesale overhaul of salary structures and revenue sharing. I have been a Kansas City Royals fan since my family moved us kids to Topeka in 1976 until now living in Jefferson City, Mo. However, it is discouraging every year to get just a little optimistic at the beginning of the season and then watch your team play into oblivion. I guess I have a hard time understanding how the players have the gall to set a strike date -- now that our country is having some hard economic times -- folks losing jobs, not getting raises, living with the fear of 9/11 and even with all of that still waving our flag high and proud. How can they complain about making millions and say that it is not enough -- that they will take our national pastime away -- tell all the kids that it is not about the game -- it is really about the money. I guess that is the saddest thing of all -- to find out that it really is not about the game -- but just about the money. And you know for most Americans making several million dollars a year for six months work would be plenty of money -- but not for our heroes of the game.
The players have become greedy individuals, who say they care for the game and the fans. Hogwash. Since when has a player making multimillions ever cared for a fan? With an average of $2.4 million per year, they are not satisfied. How
about the fans who don't make that in a lifetime? Our ticket prices have almost doubled in the
last eight years, so who is paying the freight? I have three kids who love the game, and can't understand
why people making so much money can go on strike. My daughter even wrote Chipper Jones and
his scripted response left her wondering if the players care about the average fan. She hates
football, but says if baseball goes on strike, she will become a football fan. Sure, the owners have been stupid, but why can't the players give something back? Other industries have
had their employees take cuts or freeze wages for a time to help out. And these people didn't
make millions to begin with. Guess old A-Rod can't survive on $25 million per year. And I am
sick of hearing players say "I am doing this for the future players." The only two players that
can say they had done something for other players are Jackie Robinson and Curt Flood. Guess
I can't leave out Cal Ripken, who gave back to the fans and the game.
Jacob Luft's arguments are as soft as Mo Vaughn's belly. To say teams like
Milwaukee and Pittsburgh would never have a chance anyway is to say Willie
Stargell's Bucs and Harvey's Wallbangers were a myth. Remember, the Yankees
missed the playoffs 14 straight seasons until they got a fat television
contract. The owners are all in this together and most of them West of New York seem
to realize that now. No one wants to watch a 12-team league so the changes
these owners are proposing are not just necessary they are imperative to
keep the sport going. I find it interesting that the players think the owners aren't telling the
truth about their revenue problems. All you have to do is look at the
thousands of empty seats in Kansas City, Florida, Milwaukee and other cities
and see why they aren't making any money. The players say put a winner on
the field. With what? They want so much money these businessmen aren't going
to mortgage their economic future on the chance that their $90 million
payroll will be able to beat the Yankees' or Braves' $150 million dollar
payroll. Blow up the union and start over. See which players take their millions and
go home and which are willing to play under the new structure. My guess is
when yacht and humvee payments are past due, the players will be willing to
play under any structure the owners are willing to offer. Looking out for self doesn't just mean individual teams any more to the owners and it appears everyone but George Steinbrenner realizes this.
In the event of a player strike, the owners should let all the current players go and hire all new players, with a fair salary cap firmly in place. All players who went on strike should be permanently banned from the game -- then maybe they will appreciate how good they had it.
The players are a bunch of no good, pompous, whining, greedy jerks. Since
when do the employees tell the owner's how to run their business? They need
to shut up and play ball. They need to realize they make more money in one
year than the average American will make in his lifetime. I get up early
every morning and punch a clock so I can live in my 1,100 square foot house
with no savings account to speak and drive my 15-year-old car. I will never go to
another baseball game again, nor will I ever buy any of their merchandise. I
no longer consider myself a baseball fan. I am a basketball and football
fan, and I hope baseball strikes and never comes back! The world would
most definitely be a better place ... without a doubt.
One major difference that Cross fails to recognize is that right now, the free market is setting salaries and the owners don't like it (so don't blame the employees for the conditions of a free market). So, they want to essentially collude and abuse their monopolistic status and arbitrarily hold down salaries. Risk? Name another investment that is nearly guaranteed to appreciate several hundred percent over a decade. This is not like opening a Blimpie's franchise. This is not about competitive balance. It is about rewarding crappy owners who run shoddy organizations for their inability to run a successful business in a truly free and open market. Sure there are some imbalances that should be addressed, but those need to include rewards for running your organization successfully and penalties for running it poorly.
I agree with Cross that the owners are indeed the ones that have invested millions of dollars and therefore can dictate the salaries of THEIR employees. Why is it in America today that the people that need unions the most are the ones without a union and those that make tons of money (i.e. Athletes, Movie Stars) have unions and are the most likely to strike? Something is amiss!
I couldn't agree more with Duane Cross' column. While the majority of us people actually work for, as he said: "Meal money", these players decide that being paid millions to play baseball is not quite enough for them. Now they want to virtually OWN the league as well!! The owners; the people responsible for building, restructuring and financing their business (aka teams) are not only deserving, but also entitled to the higher end! If they go on strike...so be it......I sincerely and somewhat naively hope that this "bold" move ends up affecting the players more than it will affect every other part involved.
Ultimately this isn't Players vs. Owners ... this is Professional Baseball
vs. the fans. Who is ultimately going to pay for obscene player salaries or owner profits? The fans. It is my fervent hope that if they strike. That we as Americans will have had enough of it. The title of "America's Favorite Pastime" is an honorary one ... not necessarily a permanent one.
I have a major problem with both sides. They both need a reality check! The players for obvious reasons. Look at their paychecks. My problem with the owners is: If you are losing so much money, why would an owner sell one team to buy another one which costs more? This makes no sense at all to me. And when are the owners going to open their books and let us know the truth?
The best that Mr. Luft could do was make a wisecrack about Mr. Cross' purported 2,000 shares of Enron stock. Mr. Cross is right. The players want to have their cake and eat it too. In the meantime, the owners take all the financial risks and the fans pay bloated prices to watch a game that used to charge relatively reasonable prices for tickets. Maybe the owners should have gotten together with David Stern ...
I have to side with the owners. It's easy to say that the owners are incompetent buffoons, but the reality is that the players make an exorbitant amount of money and clearly there is a competitive balance problem that must be resolved for the integrity of the game. The players say they have to sanction any contraction, but if they insist on taking a hard line in negotiations there may be contraction anyway via bankruptcy. On the other hand, the owners will never have credibility until they open their books. Otherwise there will always be distrust and skepticism.
sides are wrong. Nobody is thinking about the fans. What are we? Just another revenue stream? Until the players agree to cap salaries at a percentage of revenue and the owners agree to an independent review of their books, neither side can offer a solution that will benefit the game. Bad baseball at inflated prices is bad business ....
I have no sympathy for the players. Period! They are the blame. Pure greediness.
The average player makes more in two years than I will in a lifetime. Strikes are for the guy trying to get a 50 cent per hour raise to feed his kids, or keep his health insurance. They are hired labor just, like all of us out here working for our boss.
Tell the players to shut up and stop whining and do their job.
A pox on both their houses. The players had a legitimate beef 25 years
ago when Marvin Miller led them out of the dark ages. Unfortunately,
like other unions, they have lost perspective. There is an old saying:
Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. The players are about to get
slaughtered because the market for their skills is about to go away. As
Yogi said, "If people don't want to come to the ballpark, you can't stop
I don't give a crap who is to blame. Figure out how to share a ridiculous
amount of money, or your income will be severely reduced. If a strike
occurs.....I for one will never attend another game. I will never buy more
merchandise. I will never even read a box score. I'll say goodbye Greg
Maddux. Goodbye Barry Bonds. It was fun, but I'm done. Yes, there have
been work stoppages before -- and yes, the fans came back. But this time is
different. The game is suffering already. We are out of work. Our
retirement savings have been squandered. There are larger issues in our
minds now due to world events. Figure out a way to split your millions -- or
someday, you may not have millions to argue over.
For the most part I blame the owners. I am not even a true baseball
fan, but I am a true believer in the American system of free
enterprise. Despite what some people call exorbitant salaries,
professional athletes , actors, singers, corporate executives and
everyday Joe Blow are entitled to be paid what you can negotiate. That
is the American way. If these salaries cause ticket prices to get too
high then fans should stay away from baseball, football, basketball,
movies, concerts, etc. You see it's not just baseball players who have
this dilemma. The owners have contracted for these high salaries and
now claim they can't afford to pay. In any other business enterprise
this would be irresponsible behavior and cause for dismissal. Frankly,
I believe at least some of the owners would welcome a strike right now
and are taking a hard stance to ensure that outcome.
I think Jacob Luft is either smoking something or he's on the payroll himself.
I think that the fans are, to a good extent, at fault. They are the ones who ultimately foot the bill for the players' salaries. If we would just say no to the $40 per seat and the $3 hot dog, the owners and players would both realize where they rate in our economic system.