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Baseball deserves our scorn
They’re screwing this up, and that appears to be the point
It’s June 10. This newsletter should be chock full of jokes about Jason Heyward chronically grounding out to second base, Tyler Chatwood’s erratic control prompting the Cubs’ groundskeepers to have to re-tuck point the bricks behind home plate and an assortment of ‘David Ross looks awfully confused’ jokes.
But no. First we had a pandemic that put a sudden stop to spring training and days, weeks and months have passed, and the only baseball we can watch are re-runs from years gone by, or if you want to get up before dawn you can watch chubby Koreans and Dan Straily play while Karl Ravech’s toupee and Eduardo Perez’s Muppet voice narrate from their homes.
Meanwhile, the NHL and NBA have already come up with schemes—I mean, plans—to return to play, soccer teams in Germany are playing, soccer teams in England are going to start next week, football (both college and pro) are just pretending the virus isn’t a real thing, golfers are going to be hiking up their Sansabelts on Thursday, NASCAR is back and so who’s missing?
Oh, yeah, baseball. You know the sport where they (mostly) play outside, defense is socially distanced by design and players aren’t supposed to touch each other unless they use a glove. It really seems like it should be the easiest sport to restart.
So what’s the holdup? Are they waiting until Anthony Rizzo finds a pair of pants that will fit?
Baseball’s owners have decided to fuck everything up.
They keep making the same terrible offer to the players over and over and over again.
The basic idea is that players would like to be paid the per game rate that the contracts they signed say they’re supposed to, and the owners don’t want to do that.
At first, owners like grown up Eddie Munster, Tom Ricketts, claimed that they were losing their asses. We didn’t believe them, because baseball owners in general, and the Ricketts Family in particular, are full of shit.
Check out this asshole:
Every time the owners make an offer, it’s the same crap offer they’ve already made just wrapped in a different color toilet paper. Sometimes it’s for more games with a lower percentage of prorated salary, sometimes it’s for fewer games with a higher percentage of prorated salary.
What owners really want is three things.
They want to pay players as little as possible, and if that means playing a laughably few regular season games, they really don’t care.
They want as many playoff games as possible. They love playoff games. The networks pay them a premium and they don’t have to pay players their regular salaries.
They want to get the players to make as many concessions as possible so they can use those as leverage during the collective bargaining negotiations between the 2021 and 2022 seasons. If you don’t think they’ve already yukked it up about how any concessions now will help them enact their “last best offer” after they declare an impasse during the inevitable 2022 lockout, you’re nuts.
What owners are surprised by is how public opinion is with the players. I mean, deep down they don’t really care, but they’re used to at least a modest majority of baseball fans being pissed at the “greedy players” whenever there’s a dispute between the two sides. Sure, fans are pissed at Trevor Bauer, but that’s just a default setting. Of course, the owners can count on ESPN lapdogs like Ravech and Buster Olney to blather on about how wonderful any of their “new” offers are whenever they hit CTRL-V and send again.
Baseball originally was going to try to be back on July 1. They screwed that up. Then, it was imperative (apparently) that they be back by July 4 to avoid the trauma we suffered by not having baseball on Memorial Day, or something. But they’ve botched, that, too. What’s next, Bastille Day? Gee, I hope they’re back by then. I guess. As much as I love baseball (and for some reason, I do) I’m getting used to it not being around. They might want to hurry up before we all become Lax Bros.
The owners can impose a season on the players, and their main goal is to end the regular season near the end of September so they can cram in more playoff games. They claim those mean TV networks won’t let them move any of the originally scheduled playoff games. That, you’ll be shocked to know, also appears to be bullshit.
So, we could very well be looking at as short as a 48 game regular season. Forty-eight! And, if the owners get their way, 16 playoff teams. Why even bother with the regular season at all? Just have a tournament. The Cubs can bring the BP/Wintrust/InfoTapes.com Cup and they can hand that out to whoever wins the meaningless thing.
The Cubs played their 48th game last year on May 23. They were in first place at 29-19.
The playoff teams in that pathetic scenario would have been:
Divison winners: NL - Cubs, Phillies, Dodgers AL - Yankees, Twins, Astros
If there were five wild cards (think about that, FIVE wild cards), the first round playoff matchups would have been:
Dodgers v. Cardinals (WC5)
Cubs v. Padres (WC4)
Phillies v. Pirates (WC3) (The Pirates!)
Brewers (WC1) v. Barves (WC2)
Twins v. A’s (WC5)
Yankees v. Indians (WC4)
Astros v. Rangers (The Rangers!) (WC3)
Rays (WC1) v. Red Sox (WC2)
The world champion Nationals not only would have missed the playoffs, they’d have missed by a lot. Even with three additional wild cards in their league they’d have been 6.5 games out of the FIFTH wild card spot. That NL playoff bunch is really something. Two teams who eventually finished in last (San Diego and Pissburgh), the fourth place Phillies and the third place Cubs. Whoo! Clin Turtle’s Pirates went 30-50 from July 1 on. That’s a cool .375 winning clip. Whoo!
The shorter the season the more of a crap shoot it will be and the less it will actually prove. Whoever wins the title in a season that short will be basically irrelevant.
Unless it’s the Cubs. Then, it would be fine. Otherwise, it’s meaningless! Or something
And, speaking of the Cubs, every time you think the embarrassing family that owns the team has reached rock bottom, they just keep digging.
Sammy Sosa was on David Kaplan’s little radio show yesterday, in advance of the ESPN 30 for 30 coming up Sunday on the summer when him and Mark McGwire took all the drugs and hit all the homers. I wonder how long Sammy had to wait on hold while Kap talked to Tom Izzo?
I’m sure I’ll get into this on Monday when I do my write-up of the documentary, so I won’t go into too much here. But the Ricketts family’s obsession with Sosa is really fucking weird. Tom, especially, says Sammy needs to atone for…something, but he’ll never say what. The easiest thing for the family to have done would have been to set a bare minimum amount of things for Sammy to be invited to. Have him throw out a first pitch every five years, and invite him to a convention every few years. Just enough so that he can’t say they never invite him to anything, and just enough so fans don’t really notice that he’s been shunned. But no. Like everything else they touch, they turned this into a public relations disaster. Well, you know what? Screw them, they deserve it.
After all, they chose to be in the baseball business and if the billionaire who owns the Cardinals has taught us anything, it’s that the business is not all that profitable. I mean, those Lloyd’s of London insurance policies on Yadi’s neck tattoos don’t come cheap.