J. D. Thorne, speaker and author of the new book Baseball’s Winning Ways  (Available on Amazon Books).

“Baseball Players’ Union Negotiations”

Union negotiations can be difficult. For fans, success for the Baseball Players Union Representatives and the teams should mean avoiding a game stoppage.   Sometimes you just have to suck it up.  Sign a shorter termed agreement.  Then work harder to get a better deal next time.

Can a union negotiator get to a point where Commissioner Rob Manfred can be told, “If you offer us ‘this,’ we will accept it.” Currently, I just don’t feel the negotiators sense enough real pressure to do that?  Their constituents will feel they did not negotiate hard enough without some “pain” attached.

But sometimes the difficulty lies under the surface. Just like playing baseball itself, the difficulty might not be visible.

The Right Move

I played amateur baseball until age 42.  Among my favorite moments was a most difficult catch I made at first base when playing ball in 1967 in Chicago between freshman and sophomore years at UW – Madison.   It was mid-day, under a blazing summer sun. There were two outs, two runners on base.  The batter hit a towering fly ball that was falling close to the chain link infield fence just foul of first base.

My first challenge was to calmly drift over and find the fence; and only then look up for the ball.  This I did.  But when I looked up, the ball was directly in the overhead sun.  I could see nothing.  Imagine it.  What to do?  My mind quickly calculated the risk.  The thought occurred to me that maybe if I just held my glove in line to block the sun, the ball might come down into it?  The ball might clock me in the head, but this was my only chance to catch it.

So I just held the glove still over my head.  When the ball hit glove, I just closed it as if nothing had happened.  When I returned to the bench, instead of celebrating, I just kept quiet.  It was the right move.  I felt so strange because my gambit had worked to save the inning.  But I knew the guys would just think I was bragging, and that would destroy any celebration.  It was just another play.  So I just had to eat it.  But I remembered.

Sometimes, it works that way in a labor negotiation. A difficult play is performed, a labor stoppage is avoided, but no one is going to throw a parade for either side.

Let’s hope.



Sporting Chance Press includes books on sports including baseball. Our baseball books:

The 10 Commandments of Baseball: An Affectionate Look at Joe McCarthy’s Principles for Baseball (and Life)  also by J. D. Thorne

Public Bonehead, Private Hero: The Real Legacy of Baseball’s Fred Merkle

Baseball’s Winning Ways