The Baltimore Orioles and the rest of MLB might well have their world rocked at some point in the near future. Earlier this week, FOX’s Ken Rosenthal reported in this article that all is not necessarily well on the labor front in baseball. The current CBA expires next week on December 1st, and there’s a real possibility that the owners might lock the players out if no deal is reached by then.
I’ll let you read Rosenthal’s article and draw your own conclusions as to who’s right and wrong. However mind you that there’s never been a sniff of labor unrest since the conclusion of the 1994 players’ strike which canceled the World Series. Baseball had a tough time coming back from that, and many say if not for Cal’s streak the sport might have never recovered.
So the very idea that there could be a work stoppage is a scary prospect for baseball fans. First off however, a lock out could occur right now and some folks might not even know it. December’s winter meetings might be more low-key than they otherwise would be, however a work stoppage is only a work stoppage if there’s work to be stopped. Right now, we aren’t talking about games being played.
So a lockout next week wouldn’t be the end of the world. It wouldn’t be good, but it’s easily fixable. But if it starts to go into the later months of the winter, that could be a problem. If actual games start getting affected (even spring training games), I’m not sure how patient people will be.
I would submit that some of the bad PR the NFL has began with their lockout years ago. Granted no regular season games were affected, but that’s where labor strife began. MLB needs to take note of that, because a lot of people are now turning more and more cynical of the NFL. Now the majority of that is due to the fact that Roger Goodell is inept. However that goes back to their lockout, as that’s where it seemingly began.
To piggyback on that point, I would submit that baseball is as popular now as it’s been since that 1994 strike. Some of that has to do with the fact that we just completed a true feel-good post-season and World Series. But…does the league really want to risk that turning south?
Admittedly, I usually side with labor over management in these situations. However your average fan doesn’t care if it’s a lockout (where the owners lock the players out of the facilities) or if it’s a players’ strike (where the players’ union refuses to play). The ends are the same: no games. So my message to MLB and the MLBPA is to get this fixed. If not by next week, certainly in time for the season to start.
Incidentally, what would a work stoppage mean for this region? Teams like the Frederick Keys and Bowie Baysox would probably see an attendance spike, as would the Potomac Nationals. But do we really want it to get to that?