Peace in our time as baseball gets it right
There is a feeling out there in some circles that we must be living in some parallel universe now that major league baseball has avoided any kind of work stoppage for the next five years by coming to a new collective bargaining agreement with the players union without any acrimony, sabre-rattling or public posturing.
Nice, isn’t it?
(Griff has all the gory details here and if you can get away from the labour-strife-fatigue that’s hit all sports fans over the last little while, try to digest all that’s in this one).
Anyway, the new deal will take baseball past the two-decade mark for labour harmony when it’s completed, a far cry from what seemed to be strikes or lockouts that accompanied every CBA in the 80s and 90s, including the strike in ’94 that, well, that have hastened the demise of the Expos and still rankles Canadian sports fans.
With the NFL having come through a lockout already this year, basketball stalled by one that appears to have no end in sight and hockey apparently headed for another contentious round of bargaining, what are we to learn from baseball (and who thought those words will ever be written?).
Well they do share revenues and don’t have a salary cap of any form.
They do maximize profits from internet media, which is huge for them and not something the other sports do particularly well.
There is a level of competitive balance – look at the teams that are in the playoffs each year and, please, for the love of all that’s good in the world, get past the myopic American League East parochial view and put the blame where it should have been all those years – on Blue Jays ownership and management.
But what’s most important, in light of what’s going on in that sport I used to cover, is that the talks on this new deal began quietly, without any fanfare and quite a while ago.
They did not leave things until the last minute, they appear to have puttered around on their version of “system” issues for months, if not years, behind the scenes and in the true method of collective bargaining.
They didn’t not hold public bargaining session or give month-by-month updates; they did not call each other names, suggest that what one side wanted was never going to happen. They did it professionally and on their own and everyone came away happy.
There are those of us who used to think baseball was the most screwed up of all the sports when it came to relations between the union and the owners. The players were militant to a huge degree, the owners were unwavering in what they wanted. They got to the brink and beyond on almost every occasion.
Now? Not so much.
They’ve got it right. Everyone else has it wrong.
Odd, isn’t it? Good, but odd.
Yes, of course we are too far under the spell of American sports, sillyheads.
But, tell the truth, you love American Thanksgiving, don’t you?
Never mind the morning parades (although who doesn’t remember watching the Macy’s deal every now and then just to see the giant balloons), it’s the afternoon of football that makes it best.
(And, yes, they are ruining it a bit by adding more games, leagues always do, even if this year’s Harbaugh-Harbaugh one has some juice).
Anyway, it does gives some of us a nice little respite from the week, there is a sense of tradition to it and, well, it’s just something a lot of people look forward.
Unlike, say, Christmas, we in Canada don’t have the emotional attachment to this day so some who might otherwise be bothered aren’t worried about the intrusion. It’s their holiday, the sports fans among us just benefit from it.
It’s not even New Years, or Canada Day, or Victoria Day, other days that occupy our time far more than the third fourth Thursday in November.
And, besides, some years, Leon Lett shows up and the day becomes high comedy.
I can’t believe I forgot this yesterday – the anniversary of one of the seminal moments in an era when an American president was assassinated.
What a dope.
Anyway, it was one of the very few “Where were you when it happened” in my lifetime – maybe the night man walked on the moon, the afternoon of the Challenger explosion, very few others – but glad there was the facepalm, er, Facebook thingy to make up for it.
And if Tuesday was that anniversary, must mean Thursday marks the day this happened:
Speaking of Facebook, the smartypants at the office got one of those “click here to Like” thingies over at the top right; feel free to join any time.
How many times, when we’re at HOTH games in Philadelphia, do I mention how I can’t quite figure out why the Sixers Chicken is a Rabbit?
(Yes, that’s code but most will get it).
Well, guess the new owners wondered that too, according to this little note that says the stuffed animal is no more and there’s a new sheriff, um, mascot coming to town.
I like the dude on the left as the winner; far better than the other one.
Yes, I know. Been entirely remiss on the DTWS stuff in this season which drew to a close last night. Underwhelming cast, real-live issues, stuff got in the way.
But I did see a wee bit of the finale when the dude beat out another of those zany Kardashians to win (still say Ricky Lake got screwed, she was pretty good) and all I could think when I was watching the vote total was “how much did it cost Hump to pay off the judges so the ex’s sibling lost?”