August 21, 2002

STRIKING OUT: We're now nine

STRIKING OUT: We're now nine days away from baseball's official strike deadline of August 30, and the guarded optimism of the past few weeks has all but disappeared. The cabal of hard-line small-market owners, apparently undaunted by Commissioner Selig's "gag rule" that prevents owners from speaking publicly about labor issues under threat of a million-dollar fine, have come out with a series of rather stupid statements that do nothing but expose the owners as bumbling fools. First San Diego Padres owner John Moores declared that he'd love to shut down the game for all of next year if that results in a more favorable labor agreement for the owners. Then Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks, who's closing in on Jerry Jones for the Most Repugnant Owner in Dallas award, said that even though the owners have been pulling for a plan which includes a luxury-tax threshold, he'd rather go for a hard salary cap in order to keep players' wages down. This is the same Tom Hicks who is currently paying Alex Rodriguez $250 million over 10 years (when no one else was offering within $50 million of that), as well as obscenely over-inflated contracts to such deadweight as Chan Ho Park, Carl Everett, and John Rocker. I find it laughable that management, whose biggest problem isn't the labor contract or salary structure but their own gross mismanagement, blame the players' union for their own idiocy.
If I had to guess I'd predict right now that there will not be a strike, and that an agreement will be reached at the 11th hour in order to prevent a work stoppage. Then, the countdown to August 30 will be replaced by the countdown of the Twins' magic number...

Posted by Stephen Silver at August 21, 2002 10:06 PM
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