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Home  >  Baseball Articles  >  2002-08-31

Strike Aftermath



Yesterday was Friday, August 30, a "historic" day in baseball history. It's not really
hyperbole to say that. The players and the owners have been bitter enemies as long as
I've been alive. Every 5 to 7 years, they've shut down the game for a period of time to
settle their differences. This time they didn't.

Before Friday, I came down completely on the owners' side. The players were a bunch of
rich spoiled babies who would stop at nothing to ensure their salaries go up. The game
was broken so horribly, that a long, messy strike might be the only way to fix the game I
love so much.

Well, the settlement came, hours before the deadline. And guess what? The players gave
back something. They agreed to a luxury tax which is somewhat meaningful, and additional
revenue sharing. It's not as strong as a hard salary cap, but it's something. And the
players agreed to steroid testing. They didn't have a leg to stand on for that one. The
players realized they'd be dumped on as the villians who wrecked baseball, and they
compromised. Now that the players gave back something, they're no longer the greedy low-
lifes we thought they were. And now we will see if additional competitive balance can be
achieved.

With as much competitive balance force in place as could be achieved (without a long
messy strike and breaking the union), now we'll see if money was the biggest issues in
teams succeeding. The Yankees, with all of their advantages, still have to go out and
win the games. The Oakland A's, with one of the smallest payrolls, have the best group
of 3 starters in recent memory, a huge key in post season play. And my beloved Red Sox,
with one of the top payrolls, two of the best starters in the game, and a terrific lineup
top to bottom, just can't seem to play up to their potential. This agreement will in the
next few years make it harder for the Yankees to dominate with money alone. But the key
will be whether teams like Pittsburgh and Kansas City can become competitive again. I
certainly hope so.

And what about the fans? Hard-core fans like myself would have returned even if there
was a messy strike. I feel resentful that ticket prices are out of site and that the
greedy players and owners have little regard for the fans who pay for them. But I would
have come back. But many fans, especially young people, would have tuned out if there
was a strike. I think the players listened. They heard the fans screaming "not again!"
and they listened. They gave in a little to the owners so they could keep the fans. I
can't say the same for the owners yet (if we take the words of Bud as an indication).
They were so focused on beating the players this time that they showed no regard for the
fans. I hope in the healing process that both sides come together and start giving back
to the people that matter - the fans.