I have been looking, searching, for the best words to describe how I truly feel about the ridiculous dispute between MLB owners and players as they trade barbs through willing national media members and the clock ticks on any semblance of a baseball season, with one in-person meeting interrupting the tweets.
And then I found these words, in tweets from Evan Grant, who is the Rangers beat writer for the Dallas Morning News:
Who cares about uniform patches? Club employees are having salaries slashed & being laid off. They already sacrificed a lot in terms of financial gain for "privilege" of working in MLB. Some privilege it is now. You wanna put a patch on a uni, fine. Take care of your employees! https://t.co/WQVtGL14iI— Evan Grant (@Evan_P_Grant) June 18, 2020
Nailed it, Evan. Who freaking cares about a small ad patch on a uniform? If it makes money for the owners and gets us closer to baseball, I’m all for it!
And then, more words from Grant, who said what I think all of us are feeling:
Fans spend thousands of $ & hours for nothing more than emotional investment in the industry. Stop crapping on them, too, with this stupid gamesmanship. Stop leaking. Hammer out a deal. Stop embarrassing yourselves.— Evan Grant (@Evan_P_Grant) June 18, 2020
He’s right. Above all, this entire dispute is just embarrassing. Let me remind you, and team owners, of something very, very important:
Without all of us — baseball fans — supporting teams, buying tickets, concessions, souvenirs, memorabilia, subscribing to various services to watch games — Major League Baseball doesn’t exist. Period, end of story.
It’s our money they’re spending, in the end, even it comes from TV rights fees, regional sports networks or corporate sponsorships. In the end, all the billions of dollars MLB has been awash in for years simply aren’t there for the sport at all without us, baseball fans.
And Evan Grant is right — baseball owners are crapping all over us. What other business treats its paying customers like this?
You know the answer to that: No other business does this, and wouldn’t, because they would soon be out of business if they did. MLB owners are literally arguing about a small number of millions of dollars that they have. And if they continue to claim they don’t have it — well then, open up the books and show the MLBPA that they don’t. I think you know the answer they’re going to give to any such request.
Acknowledged, again, that the business of Major League Baseball has lost billions this year because there aren’t any ticket sales and other in-ballpark dollars. They’ve still got other billions of dollars that they could spend, and they are nickel-and-diming players, and us, to death.
Honestly, right now my disgust for team owners — who are willing to pay for 60 games but who then find 70 “outrageous” — overwhelms any other thoughts about this dispute.
I love baseball and miss it terribly. MLB owners are testing that love, though. For some of you it’s already been too much and I understand that position. If MLB owners think everyone’s just going to come right back like sheep when this is all over — think again.
So thanks, Evan Grant. You said what a lot of us are thinking, and MLB owners had better understand how angry some fans are and fix this before they don’t have a sport at all. And if you think he’s the only one saying that, or I am, listen to Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post:
At a time when baseball had a chance to play games unencumbered by other sports, perhaps even gaining some new fans who have no NBA or NFL to which to turn, it is managing to alienate at least some of the fans it already has.
These negotiations have been a travesty, or in the words of Fielding Mellish from “Bananas,” a “travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham.”
You both have embarrassed yourselves and the game, even making Trevor Bauer look statesman-like. Even Bud Selig is laughing at you.
None of this touches on the very real issue baseball — and the rest of the world — have with the coronavirus, which is already coming back strongly in some parts of the USA and could make playing Major League Baseball problematic as the summer and fall go on. If the pandemic cancels the baseball season, I understand and accept that, and if that happens MLB owners and players should do that with a united front.
But for now, this is how you’re perceived, MLB owners and Commissioner Rob Manfred:
This MLB/MLBPA negotiating process is like driving around town wasting gas in order to find the gas station that is one cent cheaper.— Jen McCaffrey (@jcmccaffrey) June 18, 2020
Note that the tweet mentions the MLBPA and I didn’t. The reason is clear: We’re in the process of “driving around town wasting gas” because of team owners and Rob Manfred.
Come on, baseball, you’re just embarrassing yourself. Fix it.