This lockout needs to end. Soon.
Major League Baseball’s lockout of the players continues to keep us sitting on our recliners, watching other stuff on television. Waiting, patiently, for resolution.
To be clear: it is the owners who locked out the players. If they lifted the lockout, players could report to Spring Training. We could be watching baseball right now.
Instead, we’re watching Twitter for updates from meetings happening behind closed doors in Florida.
And the case the owners have tried to make to not pay players continues to become impossible to buy.
Do not believe the lie that baseball teams are not extremely profitable ventures. They are. And the financials of the Atlanta Braves, as @EricFisherSBG noted, illustrate that. A $104 million profit in 2021. A $6 million-per-game revenue stream. As a business, baseball is superb. pic.twitter.com/OXlMCdOKNn
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 25, 2022
Yeah, the Braves won the World Series. But this is a decent indication that owners were able to make good money in 2021 after the pandemic hurt everyone the previous year.
It’s a staring contest right now. We hear about CBT (aka “the Luxury Tax”), draft lotteries, minimum salaries in the high six figures and tanking.
But we don’t hear about the two sides getting any closer to resolution.
And, now, we’ve reached the end game. MLB has gone public with their deadline of Feb. 28 for a deal to get done before we start missing regular season games.
What Rob Manfred, who has touted his ability to get deals done previously, and the owners he represents fail to understand is this could kill baseball.
And, frankly, I’m not sure Manfred would really care. Most of what he’s done as commissioner has been to the detriment of the game.
(Note: there’s already an antitrust lawsuit against Manfred’s office on the books because of his hostile takeover of minor league baseball.)
In 1994, when baseball cancelled the World Series (effectively killing the Expos), we didn’t have a lot of other options available. Michael Jordan played minor league baseball for a couple years, ESPN wasn’t as robust as it is now, and cable television was still hooked to the Big Three major sports in the US (baseball, basketball, football — respectfully, hockey was fourth then and still is).
We live in a different world now.
If I want to watch the University of Denver play hockey on a Thursday night, I can do that online.
If I want to watch Rutgers lacrosse, I can tune into the Big Ten Network.
We have the NBA, the NCAA and the G League for hoops. Nevermind you can also stream college baseball games across the country already.
And the NFL Draft is going to consume sports media for a few weeks before the NHL and NBA playoffs begin.
Manfred is happily burying his sport in the media cycle. And fans have more options to tune in and consume sports at every level.
We want — need — Major League Baseball back on the diamonds in Florida and Arizona. And, eventually, in big league ballparks.
So get it done this weekend, folks. Get a deal and get to work. Because the fans deserve it. And they’ll permanently spend their time and money elsewhere if this lockout goes on much longer.