Good morning, Birdland!
The owner-imposed lockout of MLB players has reached a boiling point. The union rejected the league’s request for a federal mediator, and the players took to Twitter to voice a singular request...let’s get back to the negotiating table.
I won’t pretend to know all of the minutiae of labor negotiations, but it certainly feels like what we are seeing play out is exactly what the league had hoped for all along. They would offer the players scraps, drag their feet, and then cry foul, hoping that public perception would eventually be on their side.
“See? We want to bring in a third party to figure this whole mess out, and the big, mean, millionaire players won’t do it. This is all so unfair. I need to retreat to my yacht to get myself together!”
Or something like that.
To catch you up on what the players want, here is association representative Max Scherzer to explain...
We want a system where threshold and penalties don’t function as caps, allows younger players to realize more of their market value, makes service time manipulation a thing of the past, and eliminate tanking as a winning strategy.— Max Scherzer (@Max_Scherzer) February 4, 2022
That all seems extremely reasonable, no? From the perspective of an Orioles fan that has experienced four consecutive losing seasons—three of which were done while tanking—I too would like to see all teams attempt to compete season to season. I would have also liked seeing Adley Rutschman in an Orioles uniform last season, ya know, when he was actually ready for the big leagues?
But even if I detach myself from my fanhood for a moment, I simply want a league that is actually fair and equitable towards its labor force. The owners can complain that COVID impacted their revenues as much as they want, but there were trendlines prior to 2020 that need to be rectified.
see that gap between the red line and yellow line, now multiply it by 30 teams pic.twitter.com/8nKKNddJQI— Grant Brisbee (@GrantBrisbee) February 4, 2022
Revenues have been through the roof while payrolls have plateaued. That’s not going to fly. And this conversation is happening in the midst of the “Great Resignation” among workers at large. That likely makes for a public that is more understanding of where the players are coming from then, perhaps, they would have been 10-15 years ago. So, if the owners are hoping that the attempt to bring in a moderator changes opinions they may be in for a rude awakening.
And again, it feels important to remember that the owners can end the lockout without a labor agreement. The two sides would simply operate as they did in 2021 in the intermediate. That would start spring training and the season on time, and a new CBA could come later. But that would require giving up a significant amount of leverage, so I wouldn’t bet on it.
Zac Lowther’s season-ending rotation run bodes well for 2022 | Baltimore Sun
It feels like at least one of the young pitchers that struggled for the Orioles in 2021 will experience a somewhat significant bounce-back in 2022. Why not Lowther? He finished up last season with two solid starts that saw him allowed just one earned run over 10 total innings.
Ripken offers opinion on changing dimensions, Camden Yards homers | School of Roch
It’s interesting to hear Cal’s thoughts. He compares it to how alterations to Memorial Stadium and Camden Yards have impacted home runs over the years. The left field wall change will do something similar, and eventually we will all get used to it and find something else to obsess over.
While baseball fights, football’s popularity soars | Baltimore Baseball
The conclusion here is that both sides are at fault for the ongoing labor dispute and baseball’s popularity problem. I will just say that I disagree, and leave it at that.
Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!
- Pedro Álvarez is 35 this weekend. The slugger smacked 31 home runs between 2016 and ‘18 as a bench bat on the Buck Showalter Orioles teams. Just this week, Álvarez was hired as a development coach with the Brewers.
- Ryan Webb turns 36. The right-handed pitcher was an important piece of the Orioles 2014 bullpen, pitching to a 3.83 ERA over 51 appearances.
- Chris Brock is 52. His Orioles stint came during the 2002 season, when he pitched in 22 games as a reliever.
- Roberto Alomar celebrates his 54th. The Hall of Fame infielder played three seasons in Baltimore from 1996 through ‘98, making the all-star team all three years and accumulating 12.5 bWAR in the process.
- The late Chuck Diering (d. 2012) was born on this day in 1923. The utility player was a member of the original 1954 Orioles and stuck around through 1956.
This weekend in O’s history
2012 - The Orioles trade pitcher Jeremy Guthrie to the Rockies in exchange for pitchers Matt Lindstrom and Jason Hammel. To make room for both hurlers, the O’s DFA Clay Rapada.