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PaleHoseGeorge
11-06-2001, 06:57 PM
There is going to be a strike.

At midnight tonight the collective bargaining agreement ends. The owners claim they can contract unilaterally but the MLBPA claims it's a matter for collective bargaining. The mere fact that free agents are now being effected by a possible dispersal draft puts their position on firm legal ground. So it's off to court to put the theory to the test!

If a circuit judge rules contraction must be negotiated through collective bargaining, the players go straight to a strike. If the judge rules for the owners, the players will appeal, then likely strike anyway. (I expect the hardliners amongt ownership to really dig in their heels in an attempt for total victory).

The owners have already voted not to lockout; no surprise there. The mere threat of contraction puts their real objectives into play: getting concessions from the union and improving their own economic lot.

While this drama unfolds, expect the union to seek (and receive) a restraining order to prohibit the owners from holding a dispersal draft until after a full hearing (and court case) can be made before the judge. Meanwhile opening day is less than 4 months away, the schedule is in a state of flux, and season tickets sales tossed into anarchy. Who is going to play where? Nobody knows.

This has all the makings for a major league mess. And gee, today's decision by the owners will lead to more negative headlines and bald-faced grabs for money, all of which is sure to warm the soul of America's sports fans coming in the wake of the September 11 bombings. We're sending soldiers to war so these guys can fight over money back home. This will be the biggest black eye baseball ever gives itself.

Joy to the world!

Spiff
11-06-2001, 07:00 PM
I dunno I heard they might expand the rosters so they wouldn't lose jobs.

Jerry_Manuel
11-06-2001, 07:03 PM
Originally posted by Wh1teSox00
I dunno I heard they might expand the rosters so they wouldn't lose jobs.

I don't know anywhere near as much as George does on the subject. But trust me the players union is going to rape (for lack of a better word) the owners again.

PaleHoseGeorge
11-06-2001, 07:09 PM
Originally posted by Wh1teSox00
I dunno I heard they might expand the rosters so they wouldn't lose jobs.

That makes no difference. The fact 50 players are being added to the available pool of talent amongst the remaining 28 teams has a negative effect on this winter's class of free agents. (Now you know why all of them filed early this year). The supply of available players has been increased without the consent of the union, the legally-recognized sole bargaining agent for the players.

The MLBPA has already indicated they think this is a matter for collective bargaining. I bet a federal judge agrees with them.

This is going to get ugly really fast.

czalgosz
11-06-2001, 07:20 PM
First of all, I am surprised they're moving this quickly on this... I thought that it would be in the owners' best interests to put this on the table during negotiations. I guess the owners didn't see things my way.

Second, I don't see how the player's union has a leg to stand on to prevent contraction from happening via lawsuit - it's been shown time and time again in court that businesses have no legal obligation to keep people employed. They can possibly prevent a dispersal draft from happening, as you say, George, but adding another 75 free agents (if you consider the 40-man roster) isn't really a better scenario for players. Having 200+ free agents available this offseason would mean that a lot of overpriced veterans will be out of work, and guys like Juan Gonzalez would have to take big pay cuts to get a job.

Since the players probably won't be able to legally block contraction, their only option is to strike. Im starting to lean in the direction that a strike is inevitable, unless the owners agree to extend the current CBA by at least another 5 years.

All in all, this is very, very bad, except that at least we won't have to hear Carl Pohlad whine anymore...

Jerry_Manuel
11-06-2001, 07:21 PM
Originally posted by czalgosz
All in all, this is very, very bad, except that at least we won't have to hear Carl Pohlad whine anymore...

Yeah but we still will have to hear Jerry Reinsdorf whine.

PaleHoseGeorge
11-06-2001, 07:56 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by czalgosz
Second, I don't see how the player's union has a leg to stand on to prevent contraction from happening via lawsuit - it's been shown time and time again in court that businesses have no legal obligation to keep people employed.

Baseball is completely different from other businesses because every employee (the players) is bound to service with his team. Through union work rules, a handful of them get to become free agents each winter.

Unlike you and me, the players can not simply pick up and leave their employer when they don't like it. They're bound to the team. This is the economic arrangement agreed to by both union and management. Thus, it is perfectly legal. In essence, the union agrees to let their membership stay in bondage to the team owner until he has enough service time to become a free agent.

Now the owners effect the wages of those free agents by adding 50 ballplayers to the pool of available talent this winter. This absolutely has an effect on the free agent salaries. If you don't want to sign Giambi, draft Meinkiewicz in the dispersal draft. Somebody else grabs Meinkiewicz? Make a trade to acquire someone else--there are 50 more ballplayers now available! Every ballplayer's salary is depressed by the dispersal draft, and the union never authorized it. The MLBPA has been legally certified to negotiate matters of economic impact to the players. That's why we have labor law.

The union will argue to a circuit judge that the dispersal draft has an economic effect on free agents. I don't see how the judge could rule it doesn't. If she does, look for an immediate appeal.

I predict Fehr makes a statement tonight.

czalgosz
11-06-2001, 08:54 PM
I agree with you that a dispersal draft is probably illegal and won't happen if the players disagree with it. I just don't see how making 50 (at least) more free agents makes things better for the players. Let's say that Mientkiewicz and Guerrero become free agents rather than get caught up in a dispersal draft. Better for them, maybe, but worse for Juan Gonzalez and Jason Giambi and Barry Bonds, who suddenly have to compete with not only each other, but two younger (and ostensibly cheaper) ballplayers for the attention of the surviving 28 clubs. Sure, the Yankees need a left fielder, but once they take their pick between Bonds, Gonzalez, and Guerrero (and you better believe they won't pay nearly as much to whomever they sign than they would were Guerrero locked in to the Pirates), what are the other two going to do? Sorry, buddy, we're in a bit of a budget crunch right now, we can't afford your asking price. We were looking seriously at Bobby Kielty, who will take $350,000, but if you were willing to knock a zero off the end of that figure, we might start talking...

Of course, that's assuming that owners are smart and they realize the enormous potential available to them with more free agents. That's a big assumption, I know, but if I were the owners, I would make an immediate move to end salary arbitration and reduce the time it takes to become a minor-league free agent to 3 years. And what's great about that is that the players couldn't complain without making it seem like they don't care about their younger membership.

But again, that would be the smart, long-term view.

But in answer to your post, yes, George, a dispersal draft is in all likelihood illegal, if the player's union were to decide to fight it. But then, so would an expansion draft be, if the players were to decide to fight it. So would the amateur draft. Remember, baseball has an anti-trust exemption, which adds a whole new twist to this mess.

The last time the players and owners went to court, it was over the reserve clause. The players won, but remember, the courts didn't say that the reserve clause was illegal. They said that it didn't apply once the contract expired, which was how the owners had been operating up until that point. The courts have never, once, said that anything that MLB has done was either illegal or unconstitutional. The only reason the players have won up until this point is that the owners have been afraid to go to court since then.

God, I hate talking about this crap. At least this year it didn't happen during the regular season, and prevent all these great things from happening. I can just hope they get something worked out over the next 3 months.

duke of dorwood
11-06-2001, 09:14 PM
As predicted by PHG-Fehr speaks

The notion of contraction was quickly condemned by Players Association director Donald Fehr. In a statement, he said, "Today's announcement by the commissioner -- that the clubs will attempt to imediately eliminate two as yet unnamed major league clubs -- is most imprudent and unfortunate.

"This decision has been made unilaterally without any attempt to negotiate with the players, apparently without any serious consideration of other options, including relocation, and seemingly with little concern for the interests of the fans.

"We consider this action to be inconsistent with the law, our contract, and perhaps most important, the long-term welfare of the sport."

czalgosz
11-06-2001, 09:16 PM
AAARRGGGHHH!!!

duke of dorwood
11-06-2001, 09:21 PM
Unbelievable-2 days after highest ratings in over 10 years, this.

:sopranos

Back to watching us again

PaleHoseGeorge
11-06-2001, 09:24 PM
Originally posted by czalgosz
I agree with you that a dispersal draft is probably illegal and won't happen if the players disagree with it. I just don't see how making 50 (at least) more free agents makes things better for the players.

CZ, you're missing the essential point. The union must argue on behalf of their entire membership. It's not in their membership's interest to flood the market with free agents. That's why the union and management have already AGREED on the principles of the amateur draft, expansion draft, and work rules that keep a player in bondage to one team until he collects enough service time to become a free agent. There has been no argument on any of this for 25 years.

The union will extract concessions from management if (as I predict) the NLRB and a federal judge agree a dispersal draft has an economic impact on players' salaries. They will extract these concessions because they HAVE NOT agreed to a dispersal draft and their interests are harmed by it. Moreover, the law will allow them to challenge management because U.S. labor law says it's their right to do so. Either management makes concessions or there is going to be a strike.

So it comes down to a test of wills. Who will fold up the tent first? If it wasn't for Fox guaranteeing the national TV revenue to MLB regardless of work stoppages, I wouldn't give you a warm bucket of goo for management's chances of winning. The fact that Fox is underwriting this work stoppage makes me wonder what the outcome will be. It's funny how everyone can grow a backbone when someone else is paying the freight.

FWIW, Charlie Finley was the first owner to recognize that the key to holding down salaries was making all the players free agents. He proposed just that back in 1976. Of course all the other owners thought Finley was a goof. Finley's plan would lead to anarchy amongst major league rosters. Management chose the path they took--with some help along the primrose path from the players' union.

There has been nothing but crocodile tears ever since.

duke of dorwood
11-06-2001, 09:43 PM
Meanwhile-

The Minnesota Twins announced Tuesday that outfielder Torii Hunter and first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz have been named to the 2001 American League Rawlings Gold Glove Team.

duke of dorwood
11-06-2001, 09:45 PM
:caballo

Still 2 outfield Gold Glove spots avaiable

czalgosz
11-06-2001, 09:46 PM
I think we're ships passing in the night here... We agree that the player's union would probably be able to stop a dispersal draft from happening, and we agree that allowing players on contracted teams to become free agents is not a better option fort the players.

Can the players force concessions by threatening a strike? Of course they can. The threat is there every time the Basic Agreement expires, regardless of the particular issue. Will the players make the owners pay, big time, for losing them 50 jobs at the big-league level and hundreds more in the minors? Sure looks that way. Can they stop the owners from getting rid of two teams? No way.

I like contraction, in theory. I think it would make for more competitive, exciting baseball. In practice, it's a horrible nightmare of epic proportions. It alienates hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of fans, it pisses off the players, and it sends a bad signal to the rest of the world - ie, "we're not solvent! Don't invest in us, either financially or emotionally, because we might collapse entirely tomorrow!"

Are the Expos and Devil Rays in trouble? Sure, but couldn't they see this coming back in '96 when they went for their 7th expansion in less than 40 years? It's like stepping on a pungee trap and then solving the problem by blowing off your leg with a shotgun.

And, of course, all this could be solved by making the luxury tax have some teeth, but that would be too sensical...

PaleHoseGeorge
11-06-2001, 10:19 PM
Originally posted by czalgosz
Can the players force concessions by threatening a strike? Of course they can. The threat is there every time the Basic Agreement expires, regardless of the particular issue. Will the players make the owners pay, big time, for losing them 50 jobs at the big-league level and hundreds more in the minors? Sure looks that way. Can they stop the owners from getting rid of two teams? No way.

Yes, these are the essential questions. If MLB owners insist on contracting two teams, what remedy will the MLBPA seek, and what is enforceable under the law?

I suspect MLBPA will argue to a circuit judge that MLB has refused to negotiate an element of the CBA (namely contraction and the dispersal draft) in good faith. If the judge agrees, MLB is liable for treble damages. Last time that happened (1995), the owners folded up the tent quickly. They're dumb, but they're not that dumb.

For their part, MLBPA will demand extraordinary damages be paid by MLB to the players, especially this year's free agents. The MLBPA probably hopes to make the price so high, the owners simply choose to fold the tent and rescind their decision to contract. The only way MLBPA can make such a threat is by striking over the issue.

How long can a strike go on? I would bet as long as Fox keeps paying the owners to hold out. That's what happened in 1981 when Lloyds of London was underwriting the owners. When the insurance money ran out, the owners folded.

Thank you, Rupert Murdoch, for making this labor impasse inevitable.

CredeFan
11-07-2001, 04:11 AM
Great posts guys.

It does sound like this is going to get real nasty. Looks like I'll be looking for the top prospects in High school and College in 2k2.

LongDistanceFan
11-07-2001, 07:27 AM
Originally posted by CredeFan
Great posts guys.

It does sound like this is going to get real nasty. Looks like I'll be looking for the top prospects in High school and College in 2k2. when was the last strike in b-ball, 5 yrs or so ago. after the strike, the b-ball world and players were sooo paranoid that they gave themselves a black eye, which they did.

now, with the talk of depression among wall-street and companies, does this or will this give them a huge black-eye. think about it, people are losing their jobs, and these idiot are talking about money issues, where the highest paid player makes 25 mil a yr.......

i hope they are out for yrs.