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Labor Newsbeat

Friday, March 29, 2019

‘Ready to strike tomorrow’: How one $20 trinket captures the strife within a $10 billion industry

The​ Belt​ changes​ hands​ shortly after​ season’s​ end,​ in a crowded conference room at​ a luxury​ resort, where​ delegates from​​ every MLB team have been summoned for a symposium on arbitration. For three hours, they will work together at the direction of the league to set recommendations, which teams will use in negotiations with their players. It’s a thankless job. So before the meeting adjourns, they’ll celebrate an unsung hero in this battle over dollars. The ceremony ends with the presentation of a replica championship belt, awarded by the league to the team that did most to “achieve the goals set by the industry.” In other words: The team that did the most to keep salaries down in arbitration.

For the last few years, The Belt has been an urban legend of sorts, known mostly by player agents and the small circle of mid-level team officials tasked with the tedious process of arbitration. But its existence, confirmed to The Athletic by multiple sources, has emerged as a tangible example of the animosity that could plunge the sport into a bruising labor conflict.

To its creators, it is nothing more than a morale booster, a nod for a job well done in the unglamorous arena of arbitration. But to others within the industry, it is emblematic of a climate in which the livelihoods of players can be turned into a parlor game.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 29, 2019 at 11:14 AM | 66 comment(s)
  Beats: labor

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

How baseball owners came to value profits over World Series titles

Maybe it’s collusion, maybe it’s the economics of a broken system. Former MLB commissioner Peter Ueberroth once told league owners they were “damned dumb” for prioritizing winning over making money, and today’s owners seem to agree. Why try when trying costs money? It’s this attitude that has helped MLB’s luxury tax threshold work more like a salary cap, one so effective teams avoid coming within tens of millions of it, as too many of them would rather turn a profit than win the World Series.

Compare this with what’s expected of the players, who must abide by MLB’s Rule 21: players must “give [their] best efforts towards the winning of any baseball game.” Players must try their hardest, but teams and owners do not need to do the same if it gets in the way of profits. How is this, or telling fans to be fine with paying full-price for tickets and concessions and merchandise for teams promising they’ll get around to trying again in three or four or five years, fair?

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 26, 2019 at 08:44 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: labor

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

With labor tension high, it’s time for me, Dr. Rosenthal, to stage an intervention between MLB and its players

Still, a deal on the current issues probably could be forged from these elements alone:

*A 20-second pitch clock that would be turned off with men on base (Mr. Manfred announced on Sunday he will introduce the clock in spring training to prepare players and umpires in the event it is used during the regular season).

*A three-batter minimum for pitchers, which the union reportedly is willing to accept starting in 2020.

*The expansion of rosters from 25 to 26 with a 12-pitcher maximum and accompanying reduction from 40 to some lesser number in September, changes that also would take effect in ‘20.

As you know, Mr. Clark, the union already endorses the latter two points and probably could extract additional concessions on the introduction of the clock. Yet Mr. Manfred and baseball also are willing to budge, starting this season, on two other elements they need not address until after the CBA expires on Dec. 1, 2021 – incentives in the amateur draft and service-time manipulation.

Without knowing the details of its proposals, baseball’s mere willingness to bargain over the issues represents something of a breakthrough, particularly when its leaders believe the question of tanking is less black-and-white than the union contends, and more a reflection of the game’s cyclical nature than a non-competitive strategy.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 19, 2019 at 11:31 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: labor

 

 

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