Down Bad: Lockout Edition
Uncertain times on the labor front with just over six weeks until Spring Training has us shaken up...
Major League Baseball’s offseason coming to a grinding halt at 11:59:59 PM on December 1 was fully expected. We knew it would be a desolate winter well before the owners locked out the players upon the collective bargaining agreement’s midnight expiration.
Teams got their fair share of fun in before the carousel was officially shut down. The Mets did, in spades, signing Max Scherzer, Starling Marte, Eduardo Escobar, and Mark Canha before the buzzer (skipper Buck Showalter came on board during the downtime).
And thank goodness. Imagine heading into this winter as a Mets fan without those reassurances that it actually is a new day in Flushing? Scary hours.
Now, even with that tangible progress in tow, this thick band of unique nothingness that’s enveloped the offseason has only intensified that old, familiar winter malaise we attempt to fend off each year. And it’s done so to unfamiliar proportions.
It’s always darkest before dawn, right? That’s comforting enough. As are the six-plus weeks of wiggle room both sides have before teams are scheduled to report to camp. That is, of course, until you realize that we have no idea when this particular sun will rise again.
Without even so much as a whisper of progress — or meetings! — between MLB and the MLBPA over the last month, how this all plays out will remain cloudy with a chance of disaster until both sides return to the table and get to work.
We can likely assume that things will be ironed out before any sort of doomsday scenario reaches the horizon. No one — league, players, or fans — wants to see spring training delayed, regular-season games lost, or, Ralph Kiner-forbid, a large portion of the season struck out due to labor unrest. There’s simply too much at stake and the uphill climb out of that pit is treacherous.
Those who remember the strike of 1994-1995 and the subsequent seasons after can attest to that. It literally took two unbreakable records falling (Cal Ripken passing Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games streak in 1995 and the Great* Home Run Chase of 1998, in which both Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire eclipsed Roger Maris’ then-record 61 home runs in a season) to pull the game back out of the doldrums.
Hopefully, things don’t get that far this go-around. With the national pastime footing that the game was able to stand on for so long eroding at a rapid pace (average MLB fan age is 57, per a 2017 Business Sports Journal study), Major League Baseball would arguably be playing with fire.
A $10 billion-plus per year industry makes enough money to go around. Slice up that pie, make whatever changes you need to make to the CBA (concessions, baby; all about those concessions), avoid a national embarrassment, and let’s get this done.
On that note, Happy New Year! Thank you sincerely for the support this year. Let’s do something special in 2022. LFGM…
Never any paywalls. Once it leaves my head, it’s yours. If you want to pay me for my work, it’s greatly appreciated.
Become a paid subscriber below, or if you enjoyed the story, drop a buck or two in our Venmo account (@TheAppleNYM)