Saturday, March 5, 2022

When is the NFL Draft? ...


MLB and the forgotten game…

Damn! I was hopeful last weekend that a Hail Mary pass would salvage negotiations between the MLB Owners and Players Association. I know, it was a case of overly and undue optimism. Players often talk about how Major League Baseball is a business, and sadly, that point has been driven home with us, the fans. The MLB Owners do not care about you, they do not care about me, and they certainly do not care about the players. Their singular goal is to break the union.

Clockwise from top left: Mark Walter, Dodgers; Arte Moreno, Angels; Hal Steinbrenner, Yankees; John Henry, Red Sox; Jerry Reinsdorf, White Sox; and Tom Ricketts, Cubs / Photo Credit: Getty Images

It is disappointing there are MLB Owners, small market owners, who prefer not to play in April when colder temperatures generally keep the larger crowds away and weather that forces postponement of games. The goal should be about bringing Major League Baseball to the fans. Where is the spirit of growing the game, and trying to build audiences (and future players) through younger generations? The MLB is doing a fantastic job of generating interest for the NFL, NBA, and NHL, among other professional sports.

The owners and players seem too far apart on the topic of competitive balance tax (also known as the luxury tax) for resolution anytime soon. Four owners reportedly objected to MLB’s latest proposal to raise the CBT. Bob Castellini (Cincinnati Reds); Chris Ilitch (Detroit Tigers); Ken Kendrick (Arizona Diamondbacks); and Arte Moreno (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim). If owners cannot afford to play in the big leagues, they should sell. There are plenty of billionaires who like shiny new toys.

The owners proposed to raise the CBT from the current $210 million to $220 million for the next three seasons, $224 million for 2025, and $230 million for 2026. Meanwhile, for those of us living in reality, the cost of living is escalating by the day. The players propose higher but more reasonable escalated levels ($238 million for 2022; $244 million for 2023; $250 million for 2024; $256 million for 2025; and $263 million for 2026). The players are right to draw a correlation to the increasing revenue generated each year. I do not want the players to give in on this issue, even if it means a continued lockout. This is not because I am a fan of a big market team. It goes back to my belief that if teams cannot afford to play, they need to get out of the game.

I have no idea when pro baseball might return. It seems unfathomable that it would start later than May 1st, but there was a time when I thought the owners would not be foolish enough to disrupt a 162-game schedule given the COVID challenges with the audience the last few years. Silly me. We will soon reach the point where the owners will be pressured by their business partners (TV and Cable networks, radio, advertisers, etc.). It seems it will take extreme external pressure to bring resolution as the two sides have not shown any willingness to compromise on the larger issues. I really do not want a 14-team playoff format. I thought the sides had settled on 12 teams, which I reluctantly accept as if my opinion matters, but the MLBPA is offering 14 teams, the owners’ desire, as a way of helping to restart negotiations. I guess whatever it takes. I want baseball back, but I am tired of begging for it.

MLBPA from left: Andrew Miller; Tony Clark, Executive Director; Bruce Meyer, Chief Union Negotiator; and Max Scherzer / Photo Credit: Wilfredo Lee, AP

At this point, the only sports attraction I look forward to is the NFL Draft, which, for the record, will be held on April 28-30, 2022, in Paradise, Nevada. I know, many will point to March Madness in college basketball or the NBA and NHL championship series, which are exciting times, but for me, football is the only sport that carries nearly as much weight as baseball does. If anything, my love for football has grown due to the MLB Owners rejection of us, the fans.

The MLB Commissioner, I think his name is Lord Voldemort, has cancelled spring training games through March 18th which reinforces we may not see any April regular season games. With all due honesty, fuck Major League Baseball until the MLB Owners can get their acts together.

Derek Jeter’s surprise exit from the ownership ranks. I certainly did not expect to see the news this week that Miami Marlins CEO and minority owner Derek Jeter had stepped down and was liquidating his holdings in the team.

Derek Jeter / Photo Credit: AP

Social media immediately went to the ‘Yankees need a shortstop’ card which was funny, but there is a part of me that hopes he can publicly celebrate his Yankees career in future events. He belongs at Yankees alumni events and other team functions. I have no idea what his next steps will be. It will never happen, but I would love to see the Steinbrenner family allow Derek to buy a small piece of the Yankees with is his Marlins stock liquidation proceeds and Hal give him the keys to run the franchise as managing general partner. I remember when both Hal and his late brother Hank were young and neither wanted to be involved with their father’s team. Hal has always seemed like a reluctant owner. Give the game plan to Derek and let him run the show. Like I said, this will never happen, but it is nice to think about. Regardless of what he does, I hope Derek stays in Major League Baseball. Of course, I want him to be associated with the Yankees, but keeping him in MLB is more important (so long as it has nothing to do the Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays or Houston Astros).

I feel bad for all those former Yankees employees that Jeter poached from his former team when he got to Miami. With Jeter’s departure, I wonder how many more seasons Donnie Baseball will have in South Florida? Fire Aaron Boone, replace him with Don Mattingly. Makes sense to me.

Don Mattingly

Paul O’Neill Day, hopefully. Assuming there is baseball on August 21st, the Yankees will finally retire Paul O’Neill’s #21. While I understand and respect the decision as Paul certainly deserves the honor and recognition, too many numbers get retired. O’Neill’s number will be the 23rd number retired in franchise history. That is nearly 25% of available numbers not exceeding double digits. I always felt that the MLB Hall of Fame should be a prerequisite, but it has not been the case for the Yankees. I hate saying that because Thurman Munson’s number is rightfully retired even though he is not in the Hall of Fame. I feel bad for future generations as it will get increasingly difficult to stay within double digits if 25% of available numbers get retired every 125 years. Not that we should care about the 2397 New York Yankees, but it seems as though they will need to go to an alpha-numeric numbering system at some point. ‘I’ll take A1, please’, says the future reincarnation of myself preparing to play in the late 24th century.

Aside from that rant, congratulations to Paul. I look forward to The Warrior having his day on Yankee Stadium soil even if it is not the field that he spilled blood, sweat, tears, champagne, and a few water coolers. Hat tip to the old and departed Yankee Stadium.

Paul "The Warrior" O'Neill

My 2018 managerial choice is now a member of the New York Yankees. Back when the Yankees had decided to move on from former manager Joe Girardi, I had identified Hensley Meulens, then bench coach for the San Francisco Giants, as my choice for Joe’s replacement. He was a finalist for the job that ultimately went to Aaron Boone.

Fast-forward a few years, and Meulens is now a member of Boone’s staff as the new assistant hitting coach. It seems like Meulens is over-qualified, but I am glad to see him back in the organization. I can easily remember when “Bam-Bam” was a touted Yankees prospect, even if he never lived the dream of his potential. He has a championship pedigree, coaching for three World Series champions in San Francisco. He served as former Mets manager and current Yankees third base coach Luis Rojas’s bench coach for the Mets in 2020. I guess a job is a job, and even if assistant hitting coach is beneath Meulens, it gets him back in the game and helps position him for his next gig. Perhaps Boone has higher expectations for the role, like he had expressed with Eric Chavez, when he used the phrase ‘Swiss Army Knife.’ Meulens certainly can help in so many areas. Plus, with the ability to speak five languages (English, Spanish, Dutch, Papiamento and Japanese), he can relate to so many players. I respect Meulens and I am glad he is part of the Yankees again. I hope he becomes more than just assistant hitting coach.

Hensley Meulens and Luis Rojas / Photo Credit: Jim Rassol, USA TODAY Sports

This post is getting too lengthy so I will wrap up.

I am mad at the MLB Owners for the injustice and hardship they are imposing on young prospects protected by 40-man rosters. Guys like Oswald Peraza, Oswaldo Cabrera, Luis Gil, Deivi Garcia, and others are unable to participate in spring training with other minor leaguers such as Anthony Volpe and Jasson Dominguez. The young 40-man prospects do not have million-dollar salaries and inflated bank accounts to help cushion the loss of income, and they are losing valuable training time to help with their continued developments because of the lockout.

The MLB Owners want to scrap this year’s Rule 5 Draft. Agreed. It is unfair, given an apparent shortened season and the free preview of eligible candidates in minor league training camps this spring. The Yankees always get hit hard in Rule 5 given the plethora of talent in the system. Losing Garrett Whitlock last year hurt, and the Yankees stand to get poached hard again this season. Catcher Josh Breaux and RHP Matt Sauer seem likely targets, among others, and I would prefer to keep them in the organization for another season. I am not in favor of other teams gaining the advantages of additional scouting on the players and shortened time frames to hold players on their rosters.

Thank you MLBPA for setting aside $1 million to help the supporters of MLB games (broadcast and concession crews, electricians, ushers, security, transportation, and janitors, among others). I would like to see the MLB Owners match or exceed the support. If Ashton Kutcher and his wife Mila Kunis can pledge $3 million to help Ukraine, I think a few billionaires could stand to be a little more generous with their money. I am not trying to compare the MLB Lockout to Ukraine, the latter is far worse and needs much greater help and support. I am just trying to look at the domestic concern where a hot dog vendor is trying to find money to make rent because a billionaire simply wants to make a point with the union.

As always, Go Yankees!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)