Why Omicron is more important than luxury taxes in MLB work talks – NBC Chicago
Keyword for MLB Labor Talks Should Be “Omicron” Originally Featured on NBC Sports Chicago
In 1994, it was about salary caps and a lingering distrust of collusion.
Twenty years ago, it was the “contraction”.
This time around, the effective and scary word for baseball in its labor crisis moment is “Omicron.”
As the MLB owners’ lockdown approaches its second month since the last collective agreement expired, take a look at the active sports landscape.
The NHL has been on hiatus for a week due to league-wide spikes in COVID-19 cases.
Several NFL games last week have been postponed due to multiple squad epidemics, including the Rams with nearly half of their roster impacted. Bears tackle Akiem Hicks will be sidelined this week against the Seahawks after returning to action on Monday, this time because he entered the team’s COVID roster on Thursday.
The Bulls are just emerging from a weeklong streak of positive results for COVID-19 and this week finally dealt with a one-game postponement on Thursday – because their opponent, the Raptors, had at least six players put out. the gap due to COVID security protocols.
And the Gator Bowl needed a last-minute replacement for 25th-ranked Texas A&M to prevent their New Years Eve game from being called off by the Aggies outbreak, forcing Rutgers (5-7) to accept. to play Wake Forest, ranked 20th.
All of these leagues and teams have higher vaccination rates than Major League Baseball in 2021 (not to mention the Cubs, who were among the least vaccinated baseball teams and ended the season amid a team epidemic) .
That’s not to say that the latest, particularly transmissible COVID-19 variant – Omicron – is going to prevent anyone from playing big league baseball next season.
Baseball employment lawyers can do this themselves.
The point is, COVID isn’t going away anytime soon.
And the powers that are on both sides of the negotiating table would be well served to see this in the context of the real economic factor and the fatigue for the world – at least the part of the world that still cares at all about paying for it. watching a sport that has become less fun to watch in recent years.
Because there’s no Cal Ripken story watch or summer of steroid-fueled home races to get their Astros (or Cubs, Mariners, et al) out of the fire if owners and players screw this one up and bicker in February with enough basic and fixable economic issues – or worse, delaying spring training and fighting season for a WINO (win in name only).
It’s easier said than done when it comes to the guys who play the sport.
Cubs representative Ian Happ said the owners did not engage in talks on a single economic issue when the two teams last met in Dallas in the days leading up to the December 1 expiration. from the ABC.
Recent reports suggest they have spent the month doing little with expectations that talks will resume in January.
That’s not particularly encouraging for a pair of teams who for over 50 years have struggled to agree on who should bring the donuts to the reunion.
But there is more at stake now than ever for a sport whose very pace of play and competition for America’s attention – especially among young people – has reached a crisis stage high enough that Theo Epstein and Ken Griffey Jr. were drafted into the MLB. in an effort to resolve the issue.
Add a deadly pandemic entering its third year of economic, health and stressful impact on the people of every community, and it’s not hard to imagine fans’ patience finally running out enough to cause lasting damage. whether MLB allows the resumption of negotiations next month to escalate into a public spectacle (see: 2020 negotiations on compensation and length of season during season shortened by COVID).
If the pandemic has taught us anything so far, it’s that we can face – and have done – without sports and significantly altered seasons and expectations. Cubs fans have been coping since July without most of their favorite players.
Many have faced much, much worse – and continue to do so.
And it doesn’t take a mental health expert or a behavior specialist to see trends that suggest a nationwide shift in priorities and overall behaviors during this historic moment.
These were already happening before the Omicron variant started sweeping the world and breaking through existing COVID vaccines in a new wave of infections.
Perhaps this more contagious variant is not as deadly as the Delta variant. Maybe it will be relatively contained by the spring.
But for now, it’s a reminder that COVID isn’t going away anytime soon. And while many of us might think we’ve learned to live – and play ball – with it, we should also know by now that this is a very serious new standard.
All of this should remind those at the bargaining table – especially the owners who have succeeded in lowering average wages and the wage bill thanks to the gains of the last two collective agreements – to embrace part of the spirit of this donation season.
And strike a deal before the sport is beset by a WINO.
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