The Rundown: Frustrating Negotiations May Resume Soon, Russell Unemployable Globally, League Prepares For Draft, It’s Sosa-McGwire Week
I continue to have some (read: many) doubts that MLB will play a truncated season this year. And further, I believe if a season doesn’t happen that the owners may lock players out next season, or the union may stage a strike. For that reason I decompressed and waited Saturday for the wayward asteroid to cleave the earth’s atmosphere, rendering us like the pulverized dinosaurs millions of years ago. Alas, it overshot the Earth about as badly as a Mitch Trubisky screen pass.
I enjoyed my uneventful weekend with very limited access to news, baseball or otherwise, while I socially distanced myself from Twitter as much as humanly possible. I played a lot of records while most of the inhabitants of this big blue rock continued to spin out of control.
And baseball just kept baseballing, at least as far as negotiations between the players and owners are concerned. Best described as one step forward and two steps back, the ongoing spat has all the over-the-top orchestration of a Sam Elliott soliloquy from the movie Gettysburg. The owners have a phone call today to discuss the possibility of restarting negotiations. Wait? They stopped? Was it fear of asteroid obliteration?
Frankly, the players might have a little more leverage if Elliott was leading the charge since Tony Clark hasn’t done much except chastise and belittle the owners. Though the union remains united, you’re bound to be slaughtered in any contentious battle if you don’t find the high ground. The league is probably as close to a take-it-or-leave-it scenario as ever, and that demand could occur as early as today.
“And we will charge valiantly, and be butchered valiantly. And afterwards men in tall hats and gold watch fobs will thump their chest and say what a brave charge it was… I’ve led a soldier’s life, and I’ve never seen anything as brutally clear as this.”
While they don’t love either option, many if not most players seem to prefer 50 game season mandated at prorated pay over 82 games at 40% pay cut on sliding scale. Feels like owners are willing to compromise further but the union is stuck on prorated pay for half season or more.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) June 8, 2020
I think we can forget about baseball by July 4 and if you are still clinging to the hope that a compromise can be reached, you might want to have alternative summer plans in place that do not include your MLB heroes.
A strike or lockout is relatively new territory for most of baseball, as there are no current rostered players from the league’s last work stoppage in 1994-95, and only nine current owners remain from that season. I’ve lived through every work stoppage since the reserve clause was abolished in 1975, and though some have played out with much more ferocity, this one is just plain crazy on all levels. By all accounts, everybody wants to play. It’s just that the owners want it on their terms and continue to refuse to budge.
The dispute likely comes down to a measly $326 million, which is chump change for the league when you look at the contracts of Mike Trout, Gerrit Cole, Bryce Harper, and Manny Machado. It would almost seem that the tales of financial woe are simply sleight of hand for a greater agenda, say, the next CBA for example. It’s not my place to start conspiracy theories, but I’m sure it is as obvious to everybody else as it is to me.
I may just extend my weekend sabbatical and excuse myself from all of it for the rest of the week. You can find sanity in your favorite LPs, and I highly recommend you follow me on that path.
Cubs News & Notes
- The Chicago Tribune published a nice photo collage of Sammy Sosa. Don’t forget, ESPN will air Long Gone Summer on Sunday night at 8pm, so set your DVR.
- That summer of ’98 was really special for most Cubs fans, though I enjoyed 2003 a lot more, despite its shocking ending.
- Take it with a grain of salt or two, but Ian Happ and Dakota Mekkes just road-tripped to Chicago. A lot of teammates are starting to informally train all across baseball, though there’s nothing imminent as far as restarting the season.
- Outfielder Austin Hendrick of West Allegheny High School (Pa.) has been linked to the Cubs in multiple publications.
- Announcer Jim Deshaies talked about how he’d stay in shape if he were still playing baseball.
- One family has been fighting for $800 in refunds on Cubs tickets bought from a third-party vendor.
Find Your Inner Hero
I want to applaud Hollywood for using its voice, dollars, and popularity to raise awareness of racial injustice, and they are truly efforting to make a difference. That said, 99 of 100 movies developed cater to white audiences and most of the industry is run by the liberal, performative activist white. Hopefully that paradigm will shift seismically in the wake of current events. Actor Michael B. Jordan may be leading that charge.
Apropos of Nothing
As we inch closer toward the ESPN special on Sosa and Mark McGwire, the inner crazy voice of Jose Canseco seems to get louder and louder.
Odds & Sods
Addison Russell is for hire, though so far, no takers.
In addition to Matt Harvey, @borascorp also sent info on free agent SS/2B Addison Russell to several #KBO teams. Team official today told me “we’re seeing lots of former #mlb all stars on lists sent in by agents.” Will any of them actually play in #KBOLeague this yr? ? pic.twitter.com/WjICOfrjrR
— Daniel Kim 대니얼 김 (@DanielKimW) June 8, 2020
MLB News & Notes
In an op-ed piece for the Cincinnati Enquirer, Reds first baseman Joey Votto wrote about his own awakening.
Yankees catcher Kyle Higashioka has been giving NY Post readers a behind the scenes look as he tries to stay prepared for the 2020 season.
Newark Star-Ledger’s Bob Klapisch said it is going to take a “miracle” to save the 2020 baseball season.
The owners have players right where they want them, which is why they continue to stand firm.
Baseball desperately needs a PR makeover to survive beyond this season and next.
Minor league baseball players crave union representation after last week’s massive league-wide cuts.
Torii Hunter said he would never have played for the Red Sox, and called their fans the most racist in baseball.
The fan experience at baseball stadiums will be profoundly different once the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us.
Let’s get loud! ESPN was kind enough to let us know what to expect when the 30-for-30 documentary airs this weekend.
Sosa. McGwire. Next Sunday ?
'Long Gone Summer' premieres June 14 on @ESPN. pic.twitter.com/9oFRI57PHI
— 30 for 30 (@30for30) June 8, 2020
Sliding into Home
I had a pretty rough go of it healthwise last night. Not feeling very well and I am relatively weak this morning as a result. It’s times like these that I wish I did not live alone. I think I am going to take a break tomorrow and resume Wednesday, but I’ll see how things go today.
They Said It
- “Only now am I just beginning to hear. I am awakening to their pain, and my ignorance. No longer will I be silent.” – Joey Votto
- “I was hungry…to be somebody.” – Sammy Sosa
Monday Walk Up Song
One Step Up by Bruce Springsteen. We all get it, and we’ve all been there.