Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Ross Stripling exposed MLB’s unsavory CBA negotiations tactics
Less than an hour before Major League Baseball’s self-imposed 5 p.m. ET deadline on March 1, the Players’ Union rejected the leagues ‘final’ proposal.
As a result, Commissioner Rob Manfred addressed the public Monday evening and made good on the league’s threat to cancel Opening Day. The first two series of the season have been canceled for all teams, and will not be made up later, meaning the best-case scenario now is a 156-game season.
What made this announcement even more disheartening was that hopes had been raised the night before, when negotiations stretched late into the night, with over 10 rounds of meetings. Updates throughout the late-night bargaining sessions made it seem like the sides were going to hash things out until they had a deal, with the league even pushing its February 28 deadline to March 1.
According to pitcher Alex Wood, even the players were ‘cautiously optimistic.’
Instead, it was all revealed to be a PR smokescreen, when the league suddenly claimed that the players had changed their tone in Tuesday’s meetings.
Blue Jays pitcher Ross Stripling exposes MLB
What followed was condemnation from players around the league who refused to be silent in the face of their employers’ unsavory negotiating techniques. Perhaps the most damning evidence came from Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Ross Stripling, who is his team’s union player representative.
"“It got to be like 12:30 and the fine print of their CBT proposal was stuff we had never seen before. They were trying to sneak things through us, it was like they think we’re dumb baseball players and we get sleepy after midnight or something. It’s like that stupid football quote, they are who we thought they were. They did exactly what we thought they would do. They pushed us to a deadline that they imposed, and then they tried to sneak some s*** past us at that deadline and we were ready for it. We’ve been ready for five years. And then they tried to flip it on us today in PR, saying that we’ve changed our tone and tried to make it look like it was our fault. That never happened.”"
To borrow a fake word from former President George W. Bush, the owners seem to “misunderestimate” their opponent.
As much as we’d all like to pretend otherwise, baseball, at least in Major League form, is a business. However, how that business (and every business, for that matter) is conducted says everything about the people conducting it. In this case, the owners display an insulting underestimation of the players, but beyond that a clear lack of respect for them.
Overall, the lockout – in particular, the most recent days – has shown the world that the people in charge of baseball do not value the game, the players, or the fans. They value the dollar above everything, even the people who bring in said dollar.
Unfortunately, while it’s important for Stripling and his fellow players to expose the owners’ unscrupulous business practices, it’s unclear what can be done about these issues going forward.