Are players doing enough to champion their cause as the lockdown drags on?
the New York Yankees and the other 29 MLB teams are on lockdown. The current CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) expired on December 1. Commissioner Rob Manfred wasted no time in putting the clubs on lockdown. Containment prohibits any transaction. Historically, owners have mostly had their say in CBA negotiations, with the exception of securing the much sought-after salary cap. The players’ association (MLBPA) know they are determined this will not happen again.
With Manfred speaking frequently, most fans are familiar with the owner’s complaints, but players are not. Few express themselves on social networks with their complaints; even union leader Tony Clark is rarely open to negotiations. There are 30 owners and over 1,200 players, so the players should have the upper hand, but they don’t, they have little bargaining power. They can get more power if they take their case to fans who now see it as a fight between millionaires and billionaires.
Having the most exposure, the MLB can put pressure on players in a number of ways, including cleaning up articles and even their photos on the official MLB website. The players’ union has not imposed a gag order on the players. The only way for players to have the fans on their side is to talk, which not all of them do. If they can get the fans on their side, this is the best chance they have to pressure the owners and possibly uplift their desires.
The union is expected to schedule daily zooms in which players explain to fans, through reporters, why they think the gaming economy is down. Make their case known to fans. Also use your social media account. One of the big issues they should explain is that over 90% of players earn minimum wage in the league, very few players have mega-contracts, only the ones you see in the news. The players want more money as soon as possible. The NFL, NBA, and NHL all have higher starting salaries than MLB players. When you consider that the average life in baseball is only about four years, minimum wage matters.
Many minor and even major league players have second and third jobs during the offseason. They are laborers, janitors or any other position they can get to fend for themselves, feed and support their families. Again, I have to stress that we are not talking about the Mike Trouts or Max Scherzer of the baseball world; they have a lot of them and most of them have nothing to worry about for the rest of their lives. Most of these players are grossly overpaid.
In my opinion, compared to other sports, players should have a higher starting salary. At the same time, they should agree to a reasonable salary cap, which they will never agree to. But for now, go out there and state your case. Get the fans on your side.