Thread: MLB News

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Speaking of proxies.  Jeff Passan, this morning:

"Let's back up. Can you please explain what all this is even about?

Billionaires and millionaires fighting over billions."


Mike Landau ML-

Jerry Sloan's death almost bumped me.  Pushed me back a few minutes.  I will post if there is a clip available. 

Eugene Freedman EugeneFreed

Short notice, but i'll be on 670 the Score in Chicago (all times Central) to discuss MLB's proposal and its proxies in the media.


TFW you realize it's the Friday of a long holiday weekend. LET'S GET WILD & STAY INSIDE.

9:20a-
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@EugeneFreedman
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@DavidHaugh

670thescore.com/listen & @radiodotcom pic.twitter.com/98xnokx197

Eugene Freedman EugeneFreed

Oh my gosh. A smoking gun!

https://nypost.com/2020/05/19/mlb-thinks-email-is-smoking-gun-in-salary-fight-with-players/

It's dismaying that both sides are spending their energy issuing press releases. They should say simply that they are working on the problem "in good faith" and then go into a virtual room, lock the door, and get to work.

The details are incredibly complicated but the issue isn't. What kind of revenue can be expected playing half a season in empty stadiums? How should it be divided?

The answer about revenue will be a guesstimate. The owners will have to take some risk there. Lord know the players are taking risk by going out onto the field. 

Alex Patton Alex

Best explanation I have seen thus far as to why the players took the revenue sharing proposal as a non-starter:

https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/five-reasons-why-mlb-players-are-objecting-to-owners-50-50-revenue-split-for-2020-season/?ftag=SNL-04-10aaa0b&ET_CID=128998&ET_RID=31333479

And I hate Boras but he is right about privatizing gains and socializing losses.

In my opinion, the players should have simply said, "ok owners, as soon as we have received completely transparent and FULL revenue numbers, we will talk to you about your proposal."  Full revenues would include ALL revenue.  That is the ultimate bluff call, as I think more than half the owners would not even share those numbers with their fellow owners, let alone the players.

I am pessimistic about completion of even a partial season.  If it starts, it may end abruptly.  How much would THAT suck for us fantasy owners?

Bob Elam Bob-in-TX

My company's president and owner, after a downturn some years back, raged in a meeting that he would lose a million dollars that year.

As our comptroller was pleased to explain after a few beers in a very small, select group, that meant that the owner would make a million dollars less than he made the year before.  He would still be in the high-single digits in millions.  It would just be a million less than the year before.

Mike Dean TMU2009

The owners are playing fast and loose with the numbers.  Losing $4B likely means compared to a full season of play and with the players receiving full season salaries.  It's not actually losing that much, it's the comparison to what they would have made under normal circumstances.  That lying is why there can't be a deal on this subject.  But, it's even more true that they can't revamp the entire salary structure of the game in a month's time when normal pay negotiations take six months to a year.  It's crap shock doctrine stuff.  

Here's how my brother consolidated my two twitter threads on the subject.

"First, please disregard the sports writers who are shilling for the owners by saying the players "need to do x for the good of the game."
Let us explore this subject from a labor law perspective. MLB and the MLBPA agreed to pro-rated salaries as part of an agreement to postpone the season. The agreement has the same weight as a term CBA. The subject is foreclosed from bargaining unless mutually reopened. Why would the players reopen? The shills have argued that in return the players would have the opportunity to opt not to play if they have an underlying medical condition. But, if games were going on the pressure to participate would be extreme. And, they already have that right under the ADA - but that's a wholly different issue. What about the negotiation over the schedule changes & locations of games. Those are already mandatory subjects of bargaining. The owners have to negotiate those. And, what about health & safety of players who do play & sequester from their families. Again, mandatory subjects. The owners have to negotiate over those things.
On flip side the bargaining obligation over pay has been completed. The players don't have to negotiate that again, absent mutual consent to reopen. There is no compelling reason to revisit the prorated contracts. Sure, the owners want more of the pie. They are engaging in shock doctrine. It's a crisis, lets try to implement the thing we've always wanted under the guise of this crisis. But, revenue sharing like the NFL and NBA only benefits the owners. The answer should be no, it's covered in the CBA & MOU already. The owners want to mitigate potential losses. Not the players' problem. The players don't reopen the CBA to get more money when the owners find a new, profitable revenue stream, they wait until the next term CBA. Plus, these are privately held businesses with no public disclosure. It's not something that can be resolved quickly.
For the "good of the game" the owners should eat their losses this year. It's what every other business is doing to stay afloat in the pandemic. There are legitimate concerns to be negotiated, but salary is not one of them. That's done.
Let me add a new thread about the negotiations over restarting baseball. My old thread is here:https://twitter.com/EugeneFreedman/status/1260563201097433089…What MLB is proposing is similar to the revenue sharing plan that the NFL and NBA have had for decades. It's what the owners have proposed several times in MLB. Split the revenue between owners and players at x percent for one and y perfect for the other. So simple right? Nope. It's a complete overhaul of the salary system baseball and not something that can be agreed to overnight. That doesn't even get to whether the players actually would want it. (Hint: they don't).
First, in baseball most revenues are local revenues - tickets, tv contracts, radio deals, concessions, parking, etc. Nobody knows what those revenues are except for each individual team. They share some local revenues but mostly don't. This is significantly different than the NFL where the vast majority of the revenue is brought into through league and divided evenly. Baseball owners have always held everything close and kept their revenue sources secret and proprietary. They already hide it from each other, why would they share the data with the players. But, that said, what if they were all above board and showed all of their income?
Having a revenue split necessitates a cap and a floor, two things that the players have repeatedly rejected. Each puts considerable pressure on salaries at the top to be reduced in order to pay those at the bottom. It almost necessitates an individual player maximum, another thing that the MLBPA won't agree to. It only creates cleavages between the players because every dollar one receives takes it from another player in the Union. That's an anti-solidarity agreement, putting players in competition for a finite amount of dollars.
Having no individual cap and no team cap (I recognize the salary tax system serves as a de facto cap) allows players to receive without being in direct competition for the same exact dollars. It's not a zero sum game. But, what's disturbing more than the proposal itself or the media shills saying the players have to accept it for the good of the game, is that this is merely shock doctrine. It's a crisis, so the owners are trying to force the issue when they couldn't achieve it in CBA negotiations in the past or future.
Very complicated issue that should take months to negotiate in the best of times. The answer is no. Let's talk about it in two years and follow our prorated contract MOU that we negotiated in response to this very situation for this situation."




Eugene Freedman EugeneFreed

Jeff Passan had me persuaded five days ago (persuaded is a little strong, but I was impressed by his "back of the napkin math") that the players should accept the owners' offer to split revenue 50-50. All that gets blown to hell by the owners' back of the napkin math.

https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/29183700/report-mlb-projects-loss-640000-per-game-fans

In this accounting, the players don't get paid anything -- they have to chip in!

I think that's what EBITDA means. Playing 82 games, the Tigers would lose $84 million. And they are getting off light. The Yankees lose $312 million.

My back of the napkin math says Gerrit Cole would have to chip in somewhere around $5 million.

As Passan figured it, a 50-50 split of revenue would give the players roughly as much money as they get in the March 26 agreement. As the owners see it, paying the players what they agreed to pay on March 26 would mean an 89/11 split. In favor of the players.

If the players do accept a 50-50 split, in addition to losing half of their salaries this year, because half of the season won't be played, they lose almost 40 percent of what they are owed for the remaining half season.

That's my math. If you tell me it's wrong, I won't be surprised.

The fact remains, if the owners' numbers are even close to accurate, Blake Snell is right.

Alex Patton Alex