Not that Rob Manfred would care, but his smirking and laughing visage as he announced the first cancellations of the 2022 regular season, which caused just about every baseball fan to have an urge to reach through their screens and thrust their fist through to the back of his skull, is the image that will endure. The joke, or hunch, or belief, has always been that Manfred doesn’t really like baseball. He’s a labor lawyer, a labor lawyer for the ownership and management side. He’s only there to aid the owners, who themselves are at best indifferent to baseball. They only see it as a vehicle for their portfolios or real estate deals in their fantasies. Manfred is the perfect leader for them. He’s only here to spar with the players and make as much money for the owners as he can. Actual baseball doesn’t really enter into it. It’s a side to it all. That perceived glee as Manfred took baseball away from its fans confirmed all those suspicions.
When you look at this “final proposal” that the owners put forth, that they won’t move off of, that they thought was worth digging their heels in, that will probably cause the season to be delayed a month at least, it’s clear how craven all of this is. A rise in the minimum salary from $570K to $700K is worth, what, a few hundred thousand to each team? Maybe a million? Additionally, it was only $25K off what the players were asking the minimum be raised to. Again, how much per team? It’s what these owners would find in their couches.
The $55 million bonus pool for pre-arb players? Not even $2 million per team. It doesn’t even matter what the difference in luxury tax thresholds and penalties were, because there was nothing in the proposals to compel teams to spend it, or over it. There was no salary floor. The owners could continue to behave as they have been, which has destroyed the game.
That’s how desperate these 30 vampire squids are to suck up every dollar they can, even the amounts they wouldn’t actually notice. Franchise values and the league’s income have skyrocketed, and yet it’s never enough. They can’t stop chasing to satisfy their cravings.
As Joe Sheehan said:
It’s amazing how these monstrous capitalists suddenly go for socialism in a certain situation.
So Manfred can get up there and lie about the owners’ situations, or how the game’s coiffeurs have grown lately, or how baseball has a competitive balance problem without a salary cap, and it doesn’t matter. He doesn’t like the game, so it doesn’t matter if he sullies it. It’s not what he’s here for. That new deal with TBS? That’s what he’s here for.
And the fans won’t get their game back, and get rid of the 30 unfeeling money vacuums who have turned the game into nothing more than another leveraged buyout, and let the actual product become stale, and done nothing to relate it to current and future generations, until this version dies, burnt to the ground. Let old things die. Only then will something better arise, if that’s even possible.
Let them lock out a whole season. Let’s see 15,000 in Yankee Stadium in July of 2023. Scar the game in such a way to ruin their investments. Watch franchise values, with horrific ratings and falling attendance and a staunch refusal from state and local governments to aid them in any way, plummet. Make them get out, or force them to change the game on the field and off of it in a way to promote actual competition instead of merely a field for harvesting cash.
Baseball was on its way down long before Manfred put it into overdrive. Once the owners booted Fay Vincent to install nerdy ghoul/compadre Bud Selig as the game’s steward, we’ve been headed here. It’s too far gone now, because baseball is run by people who only see what’s right in front of their faces and not what’s down the block.
So let them destroy it. It’s their way. Suck everything out that they can and leave a deflating husk, and then move on. From the husk we can do better. Even the NHL, after they blew up the league in 2005, came back with rule changes and other things to make for a more exciting product.
That’s what baseball needs. Steer into the skid until we hit the ravine. It’s the only way.