THE LUNACY OF THE MLB LOCKOUT By: Frankie Montgoris

Seven minutes.


No, that is not how long it took for New York Mets fans to completely sell out inventory for Max Scherzer jerseys. Instead, that is how long negotiations lasted between Major League Baseball (“MLB”) and their respective Players’ Association (“MLBPA”) on the last day before the expiration of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”).


If you have not heard the news by now, MLB and the MLBPA essentially stared at each other for months while the clock of the CBA ticked away, and are now in the first work stoppage that the MLB has seen since The Lion King was taking the box office by storm. That means no free agent signings, no trades, no transactions, and if this drags on long enough, no baseball. The ultimate public pissing match between Commissioner Rob Manfred and MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark has now come to a head, and the only thing it leaves us fans is an overwhelming feeling of frustration and hatred for both sides. That, and a nice long letter by Mr. Manfred that likely took him and his representatives longer than the seven minutes they spent negotiating with the MLBPA to try and avoid this whole mess.


Both sides need to take a good long look in the mirror and realize how entitled and ludicrous they both are. This is essentially a fight between millionaires and billionaires, neither of whom live in a world even remotely close to the rest of us. Max Scherzer, an MLBPA representative, sat in front of a camera the day he signed a contract that earns him approximately $20,000 for every PITCH he throws for the next three years and talked about how a lockout was a “very likely scenario.” My condolences go to Mr. Scherzer and the rest of the MLB players, because it is unimaginable how bad their labor situations must be to get short-changed like that.


But when you dive deeper into it, you really begin to realize how absurd this dispute really is. One main point of contention for the MLBPA is reportedly a demand to increase the minimum MLB salary from $570,000. Because apparently to only make more than half a million dollars – which is approximately ten times the average median salary in the country - to play baseball is a theoretical slap in the face to an MLB rookie.


Another point of contention? The owners not wanting to institute a salary floor, because it seems that when you are a billionaire and an owner of some of the biggest sports franchises in the world, throwing an extra few million dollars to field a quasi-competitive product is too much to ask for.


It is not just the financials that puts these two parties at odds. The fundamentals of the actual game are about to change as well, as a universal DH and playoff expansion are also on the table. The recent rule-changes regarding ghost runners in extra innings and seven-inning doubleheaders? Your guess is as good as mine on whether those rules – popularly dubbed “Manfred-ball” by disapproving fans - return next season, if there even is one. And of course, as if that isn’t enough, a report a few days ago alleges MLB of using two separate kinds of baseballs throughout the 2021 season. Just what these negotiations need is another force to drive these two sides apart.


But wait, it gets worse. In the event it was not clear how much of a clown show this circus has already become, the MLB’s first course of action after the lockout was to scrub their media clean of everything that has to do with the players. No mention of any active players can be found anywhere on the MLB’s official sites. How did the players respond? By trolling the MLB on their social media pages by ghosting themselves in photos.


Everything is a mess, and both sides are more concerned with making the other look bad than they are in actually progressing negotiations forward. This is a measuring contest between two juvenile teenagers, who care about nothing more but winning. The only problem is, the only ones who are very evidently losing this sick contest, are us fans.


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