Alexander: Baseball’s labor peace is tenuous
Welcome back to the bad old days of baseball, of labor strife and millionaires picking fights with billionaires over the division of a bounty that just keeps getting bigger.
No, we are not going to see a strike any time soon. But when Kenley Jansen suggested at the recent Dodgers Fan Fest that it might be time for players to think of manning the barricades again, that indicated just how restless the workers are.
(Jansen might want to work on his timing. A fan event is not the best time to talk about walking out, because the customers might take the hint and beat the players to it.)
But with every day that baseball gets closer to pitchers and catchers reporting, and every day that large numbers of players — including all of the high end guys — remain unsigned free agents, the unrest deepens.
A player agent ratcheted up the tension over the weekend, and for a change it wasn’t the traditionally outspoken Scott Boras. It was Brodie Van Wagenen, the co-director of Creative Artists Agency’s baseball division, who said that the clubs’ negotiating stances feel “coordinated” and raise suspicion “of institutional influence over the spending.”
A rising tide… @MLB_PLAYERS pic.twitter.com/jwkoiiI0yt
— Brodie Van Wagenen (@bvanwagenen) February 2, 2018
And here was the money quote in Van Wagenen’s statement:
“I would suggest that testing the will of 1,200 alpha males at the pinnacle of their profession is not a good strategy for 30 men who are bound by a much smaller fraternity.”
You get the sense that major leaguers of this era needed a history lesson, or at least a reminder that the riches they currently enjoy are a direct result of the battles of the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s, and the lessons taught to their predecessors by MLPBA directors Marvin […]