You’d like to think that the rules for the upcoming baseball season would have been set, considering that spring training games are already being played. Seeing as how they went through an offseason and teams are already constructed for the most part, it would be ideal for everyone to know the parameters. But this is baseball, where logic is always a flinch away from a gruesome death whenever the owners get a money boner.
Still, a report from The Athletic’s Evan Dreilich last night suggests that the players are not going to give in to the owners jonesing for a bigger playoff money fix, and won’t be tempted by the promise of a DH in the NL to give in.
And nor should they. According to Dreilich, expanding the playoffs would have netted the owners an extra $100 million from ESPN, which sounds like a lot of money. But when you break that down to being just over $3M per team, which is basically a team’s coffee bill for the season, and you see the problem.
The give back is that expanded playoffs disincentivizes teams from actually trying even more. The players have finally figured out that teams only having to aim for 81-85 wins instead of 85-90 dries up free-agent money for all (though the NL Central seems to have gotten to that 84-win target anyway).
Expanding the DH to the NL, now that the health argument — a tenuous one last year anyway — is no longer on the table, also doesn’t do the players any good now. It would have in November-January, when players on the open market were looking for jobs. 15 more spots opening for players with a certain set of skills would have seen at least a few net bigger contracts than they got. With rosters basically set now, the players don’t really benefit from having 15 more DH spots added. Those spots would just go to a bench player already on the team.
But that’s not what the owners were interested in doing. The expanded DH is just a token that they’ll trade in for whatever they think they can get back for it in CBA negotiations after his season. Maybe that’ll be expanded playoffs, but if the players agree to that it’ll only water down what those DHs can get when teams don’t feel the need to push their teams beyond “meh.”
It’s been a couple months of the players telling owners to do one, after they sneezed on their proposal to delay the season by a month and then handed it back to the owners still soggy. It doesn’t bode well for where CBA negotiations might go, but this is a fight the players have needed to pick for a while.
Anyway, let’s end with Alex Ovechkin spearing someone in the nuts:
When I was doing a hockey-only site, I wrote a post about how much of a tool Milan Lucic was after he got suspended for repeatedly spearing guys in the balls. And I received a raft of emails from beer-league stooges and goobers telling me that I didn’t understand hockey and how that’s a staple of “toughness.” Hitting a guy in the balls...with a stick. A staple of toughness.
And then they called me all sorts of names, most of them having to do with vaginas.
It’s not a broken culture at all, hockey.