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Home  >  Baseball Articles  >  2002-07-17

Let ‘em Strike!!

I know this is an awful thing to say. We are on the verge of losing baseball for the
2002 season as we did in 1994. And I say, let 'em strike! Let them burn their fan base
and all of the good will built since the last disaster. My reasons to hope for a strike
are simple.

#1 – Red Sox – centric. The Sox are not going to win it this year. While it’s nice to
see a winning team that plays in harmony, they are not strong enough to overtake the
Yankees (no one is). This will be another year of coming up short, and face it – just
making the playoffs won’t do it. Nothing less that a championship is going to be

#2 – Baseball is so horribly broken right now that a complete train wreck is the only way
to fix it. The completely broken economic system has created the Yankees against whoever
World Series every year, and half rest of the teams with no chance whatsoever. I will
take parity over this mess, even if it means sacrificing the Red Sox being in the upper

First, what is wrong with baseball and its economic system? As a Red Sox fan, the easy
answer is – it’s all the Yankees’ fault. They’re not playing by the rules. They just
buy a championship every year and if they’d just stop doing it the Red Sox might have a
chance. If you are a Sox fan, don’t tell me you’ve haven’t felt that way. But the
Yankees ARE playing by the rules. By the current system, the Yankees are welcome to go
to the buffet table every July and buy up any player they need. And because they got
beat in the 7th game last year, Steinbrenner is leaving nothing to chance this year.
Jason Giambi, Robin Ventura, and Rondell White before the season, and Raul Mondesi and
Jeff Weaver recently. Steinbrenner is going to make everyone pay for not winning it in
2001. Why? Because he can. Limitless local TV revenue and no limit on what he can
spend for players. No one can come close.

What is really wrong with the system is you’ve got egomaniac owners with no real
commissioner who can’t see beyond their own riches to agree on the common good of
baseball, and the player’s union that won’t give an inch because they know the owners
can’t agree on anything and will cave eventually.

In my book, they owners need to get together and decide that parity is the only answer.
The rich owners need to sacrifice their annual advantage for the good of the game. They
need to agree on a set of principles that will level the playing field. I believe they
are revenue sharing (obviously) and (yes!) a salary cap. This luxury tax thing is never
going to go far enough. In order to get the salary cap which the players union will
never agree to, they need to unite completely and bust up the union. I can’t believe I’m
saying this, as a liberal pro-labor Democrat all my life, but it needs to happen. Hard
working laborers who work for years and fight for small concessions have nothing in
common with this group of spoiled millionaires. This union needs to be set straight.
The only way to bust it is to go well into the 2003 season and get some high profile
stars to publically accept that a $10 million salary is really ok instead of $15
million. Why can’t the owners just police their own salary impulses? We’ve had free
agency since the ‘70s and it’s been proven that they can’t. They're businessmen, but
they're also idiots who want to win in the worst way. There will always be some
foolish owner that will bid up the price on a free agent because they think they are one
free agent away from a championship. The only thing that stopped them was that foolish
farce of collusion in the mid ‘80s. The limit on salary has to be built into the rules
and be the same for the Yankees as it is for the Royals. This is how the NFL works. If
a team signs a free agent they will have to sacrifice some of the depth. If the Yankees
sign Giambi, and they lose Brosius, O’Neill, and Martinez, they won’t have cap room to
sign additional front line players.

What is going to happen? Not my scenerio I’m sure. The owners and Bud Selig do not have
the same idea on how to fix it, and with no leadership to bring them together, the
players will wait them out and we’ll see no real changes. Too bad! I do think we'll see
a strike. And I say, lose 2002, lose 2003 if necessary but get it right this time!