It feels strange to say this, but it’s hard to get too into baseball’s labor negotiations right now, to try to read the tea leaves of a 15-minute meeting on Thursday, who might be willing to budge on which issues, any of it.
It’s a pretty cut and dry thing: the owners are trying to make every last penny available, and the lockout will end when they feel they’ve squeezed until they can squeeze no more. Watching it happen in real time, with no regard for the sport that these American oligarchs have assumed and forsaken the role of caretakers, is simultaneously painful and uninteresting. If I wanted to watch capitalists in their final form, manipulating workers and ignoring anyone or anything caught in the crosswinds of their greed, I could look at any other industry in America.
There’s no win or lose in this, so I just hope that the players can get to a point where they feel they’re getting a fair deal. It stinks that so many people whose livelihoods depend on baseball, and who already have lost so much in the past two years to COVID, get screwed again by something they have no control over. And that, more than really wanting to see actual baseball in the spring, is the reason to want the lockout to end sooner than it probably will.
As great as baseball is, and as much as it feels off that pitchers and catchers haven’t reported yet, it doesn’t hit that hard because the Olympics are happening. Then you’ll get March Madness, and the NBA and NHL playoffs. It’s from Memorial Day on into June that not having a ballgame to watch on any given night really starts to hit.
And if you want to read any kind of tea leaves, it’s the point in late spring that business starts to pick up – that’s when it’ll really start to hit for the owners that as much as they want every dollar, if you don’t put out a product, you wind up with zero dollars.