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Labor Newsbeat

Saturday, July 15, 2017

MLB Has a Long But Little-Known History of Rebels, Reformers, and Radicals

From his legal training, Ward recognized baseball contracts’ unfairness. In 1885, he organized the Brotherhood of Professional Baseball Players, the first labor union in American sports. Two years later, he published “Is the Base-Ball Player a Chattel?” accusing team owners of “wage slavery.”

Baseball magnates colluded with each other, primarily through the reserve clause, which bound players to their teams but allowed owners to release them without pay. Even after profits tripled in the 1880s, the owners imposed meager wages and extra duties — rent for uniforms, meal fees — on their workers.

Much of this was new to me. Granted, the source is Jacobin so it comes within a certain… framework… but it’s good longform, so I figured it was worth sharing and was wondering what my fellow Primates would make of it.


Friday, February 24, 2017

Are statheads “pro ownership?”

But, beyond that, something happens when statheads talk about transactions or rule changes in particular. Unwittingly, I think, we ally with ownership. When a player signs a free agent deal, and we talk about whether it’s a “good” or a “bad” deal, we’re framing that in terms of whether it helps the team that the player signs with….

But I don’t think that’s out of some sympathy with owners. Rather, I think that most analysts, whether they’re into analytics or not, are fans first and foremost. Or at least have trouble taking off their fan caps entirely when they do analysis. As fans of teams (or laundry, as Seinfeld once said), we want what’s best for the team or teams we support. We understand each club has a budget, and we want the clubs we root for to not be unduly hamstrung within that restriction by “bad” deals that limit their freedom and flexibility to make other moves. And we know that our readers do too. You are fans of the Cubs, the Giants, the Yankees, and the Rangers far more than you’re fans of Mike Dunn or Edwin Encarnacion. In this, the interests of the owners and the analysts selfishly align, at the expense of the players.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 24, 2017 at 12:25 PM | 57 comment(s)
  Beats: analytics, labor, ownership, rob neyer

 

 

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