So we’re still at a stalemate in regard to Major League Baseball being played at some point in 2020, if at all.
The owners have been performing a full-court press, including Cubs owner Tom Ricketts appearing on a video forum with season ticket holders to turn his pockets inside out and hope moths fly out.
One of his claims is that 70% of team revenue comes from in-stadium revenue – tickets, concessions, merchandise, etc. This is, as it’s called in business circles, a huge load of shit.
The Cubs were scheduled to rake in $100 million in television revenue this year. That number would have gone up the second they sorted out the Comcast carriage situation.
Of course, the other thing the Cubs happen to have going is that their new network, Marquee, is its own corporate entity. So while they might pay the Cubs for TV rights, the advertising revenue for the network would go into the Ricketts’ pockets, just not the pocket marked “Cubs”. Then there’s the rooftops, yet another company owned by the Ricketts family. So there’s money flowing in (under usual circumstances) from a few different channels.
In the meantime, the owners and players originally agreed that the players would take pro-rated salaries once play resumed. Then the owners realized that they were actually being a little too fair to the players, so they moved the goalposts. Now they want more.
Of course, they want the ballplayers to bear the financial burden, because this is how sports operate. The athletes are the sole source of revenue – nobody pays to watch the owners own – and they assume the risk, in terms of harm to their bodies.
So now with the COVID-19 pandemic, the burdens and risks are magnified. And the owners are making sure everyone gives the players the stink-eye for actually having the gall to point that out. They’re trying to cobble together a revenue sharing plan, despite MLB never having one in place. They want the players to quarantine themselves, but there’s still no announced plan as to what they’ll do if one or more players become infected.
Of course the players want to do things as safely as possible. It’s their asses on the line. The owners can afford o go a year without getting any money. And star players can too. But the guys who usually ride the shuttle between AAA and the Show really need the money. A guy who is basically a career minor leaguer can see his salary for the year double by just spending a month in the big leagues. They want to play, and the proposed 30 man roster means more of those types of guys can make the best money of their lives.
Blake Snell publicly declared that he didn’t want to run the risk of being infected with COVID-19, and he’s a guy who stands to lose a sizable chunk of change, both in salary and bonuses.
Meanwhile, every owner in baseball is a billionaire, and they’ve done a pretty effective job of painting millionaire baseball players as greedy.
If you don’t believe me about owners being billionaires, consider this – Alex Rodriguez made $450 million dollars playing baseball, more than anybody in history. He and Jennifer Lopez, who’s worth another $400 million or so, still need a partner if they want to buy the Mets. That’s how huge the wealth gap is.
Which is fine, employees have less money than the bosses. It’s been that way since the beginning of time. But don’t buy into the bullshit about players being greedy. They’re being asked to assume a huge part of the financial burden, and all the risk.
Hopefully, MLB doesn’t return until there’s a good plan in place where the players aren’t taking an unfair share of the burdens, since they’re the people that are the ones that will make any season happen.
In the meantime, KBO baseball is pretty cool…