And so MLB heads into the final jump today, with the current CBA expiring today at 11:59 p.m. It’s important to remember that the owners don’t have to lock out the players when it expires. They can keep talking, and both sides would if both sides felt there was progress being made. Apparently, they don’t (though take anything Jesse Rogers reports with however many grains of salt you can find around, as he’s been known to forget how to breathe every now and then).
While the word “lockout” is always dispiriting to see or hear, really the only thing that we’ll miss out on for now is more news about free-agent signings or trades. And given the past few offseasons, we’re already kind of used to this time being barren of that anyway.
The players won’t miss any checks. The owners won’t miss out on any TV money. Everything will be in stasis until February. Which is when things get interesting. Because when spring training comes close, it’s actually the owners who will start to feel the pinch. Players don’t get paid for spring training, but it’s become big business for owners. You know that by whatever prices you’ve had to pay for spring training games. Maybe it’s not the major drop in their greedy gullets, but owners will definitely notice that spring training money going missing.
Based on the reports, the owners are still just trying to keep things as they are, the system that has strangled urgency and competitiveness out of the game by making it so easy for teams to make money without actually having to win. And the owners are still pushing for that with the expansion to 14 playoff teams, allowing clubs to fill their roster with something just above sewage bilge to win 80 games and tell their fans they’re really going for it. The players want the luxury tax raised and free agency to come sooner, both of which would juice transactions. Sounds good to me.
Anyway, as we enter this nuclear winter, make sure you suss out the writers who are just carrying water for the owners. Your Olneys, your Passans. This is a fight between one side actively destroying the game, and though the players might only be after more money, they’ll at least improve things by doing so. Enjoy the ride.