Major League Baseball will not start on time this year as negotiations between the team’s owners and the player failed to reach a new collective bargaining agreement. The owners set a deadline of last Monday to reach an agreement or games would start being canceled. It came and went.
Now what happens? What happens when both sides present offers at the deadline and they are rejected? I tend to believe things will become really difficult. After all, both sides are blaming each other for the stoppage of play.
The owners are upset because they improved their offer quite dramatically. The players are mad because the owners are making more cash than ever and they feel they should get a bigger chunk of it. History tells us that the players will eventually give in. This is the case because the owners have more money than they do. Players only get paid if games are played.
For now the sides have broken off talks. That means the first agreement to be made is agreeing when to resume negotiations. That is a problem.
I think the game has a bigger problem.
Baseball is traveling into a dangerous zone. It should concern both owners and players that fans could turn away from the game. Fans took their time returning to the game after the strike in 1994-95. It will likely take even longer this time around. Attention spans have shortened, choices have widened and there are not as many fans these days.
Fans will likely resent the players and may become indifferent to the idea of not having baseball. They will resent players upon learning that the final offer rejected by the players would have brought nearly $500 million over the course of the agreement to the players.
I am hoping the owners take advantage of having the fan’s support and call players back to the table and get a spirit of cooperation by making an even better offer. It will become harder and harder for the players not to accept the offer. Remember, history tells us they always do.