Baseball

Fans Lose as Millionaires and Billionaires Fight

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As the baseball world came to a screeching halt this week, the MLB owners, led by Commissioner Rob Manfred, quickly put out a statement to control the narrative.

In the letter, Manfred directly addresses MLB’s fans and states that the lockout is their best attempt to protect the competitiveness of the league and that it’s the Players Association’s fault for the lockout.

Meanwhile, the Players Association, led by Executive Director Tony Clark, released their own statement, and unsurprisingly placed the blame on the owners and the commissioner.

No Way for Fans to Win

While both sides have legitimate gripes with one another, trying to win over the support of fans while failing to take any blame or responsibility comes across as pretty weak. While the two sides continue to wage war against one another, most fans sadly saw this coming. The two sides struggled in negotiations to return to play during the COVID-19 pandemic and the relationship between the Commissioner’s Office and Players Association has deteriorated since Manfred’s 2015 appointment.

And even when the two sides finally agree on a deal, little to no concessions will be made for fans. Blackouts will likely remain forcing fans to purchase cable packages to watch their local teams. The cost to bring a family to a baseball game will continue to increase (up 4.5% since 2019) and other issues including changes to the game, safety and long concession lines will still cause frustrations.

Sadly, the best case for fans will simply be the MLB season starting on time and playing 162 games, however, a delayed start to the season seems like a decent possibility.

Can Fans do Anything?

In the fight between millionaires and billionaires, fans are left on the sideline. However, some fans have started rallying together to express their frustrations. One Twitter account, The Major League Fan Association, was created with the goal of getting fans an opportunity to come together to express their frustrations to the two warring factions.

The Major League Baseball Fan Association has been trying to build support by forming a similar structure to that of a non-profit board, where fans representing all teams will be able to meet to discuss the major issues impacting the game. Ideally, the organization would be able to go to MLB and the Players Association with these concerns with the goal to help build a better fan experience in and around the sport.

While the odds that a Fan Association will actually grow to the point to be taken seriously by MLB are slim to none, it points to a larger problem with the sport. At some point, fans will turn away for good. And if/when fans do start to leave, MLB can look back and realize these labor issues were the most likely culprit.

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1 comment

  • Anthony says:

    I may be old school, but to get things back, all fans need to boycott all games, apparel buying, equipment put out by anyone affiliated with players association and the MLB. Even then, the greedy players and owners will fight over the pennies that are left. The problem is players have forgotten who the work for and owners need better feelings for their employees…..players work for owners and team as any job. So players shouldn’t feel they are entitled to anything more than their contracts, which should be based on daily performance just because you think you deserve millions…now you may say but they are away from their families and deserve better. If want pay for my services, shouldn’t be top notch everyday not just when it’s time for contract. That makes fans very upset. Owners dealing with whining, sniveling players wanting incentive related contracts has made it so owners have to raise costs at the ballpark, thus making players want some of that…it’s a business the game of baseball today…those who have out lived their prime and time, they should be retired are still trying to cash in….(hence trouble with performance enhancers)…as far as rules go, stop it already!!!!! These dumbass rule changes are driving away fans, games are too long and boring. DH rule is absurd…if you are on the field you should be hitting as well, not a guy sitting on the bench all game. Are they afraid it will tire a pitcher out to take three swing and whiffs most of the time? Having what seems like an entire team in bullpens of pitchers. These days with all wanting to keep cashing in on the money, pitchers just don’t have to ability to go more than 5 innings and most in that span near 100 pitch count. Are they afraid of getting hurt or just because of not knowing the art of pitching? Nolan Ryan and Greg Maddox and Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz had that..not saying others don’t today, but when they put gas throwing over hitting the strike zone there’s a big problem…another problem is the strike zone….it has always been 17″ has it not..to speed the game up and not boring just stick to 17″. Make pitchers start learning to throw artfully and to keep hitters guessing…not having umpires expand to help hard throwers look better than they actually are, (aka Carlos Martinez) among many others…

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