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

“Can Baseball Management Reach a Player Contract with its Union?”

As my daughter once said in a beautiful spontaneous malaprop:  “The Tock is Clicking.”  Normally, pitchers and catchers report to spring training camp in mid-February.  In the dead of winter, it is like Groundhog Day, “a harbinger of spring.”  And for baseball fans, spring training is always on their calendars, even in the coldest of winters.

But this year, there is no Collective Bargaining Agreement. Each day is like the Groundhog Day movie, with the alarm going off signaling yet another futile day in the dead of winter.

For me, it’s hard to imagine MLB management ending its “Lock-out” and inviting players to start working out at the traditional start of training.  There is agreement on some issues, but not all issues.  Some union proposals are deemed “non-starters,” and yet they are neither resolved nor removed from consideration.

Interesting in this context is the story told by former MLB Commissioner Bud Selig about his experience with the union in the 1994 Strike.  At the time, Democrat Bill Clinton was President.  So when the union strike had already cost the last 1/4 of the season plus the World Series, the Commissioner was invited to the White House for mediation sessions to resolve the issues.  Player representative correctly told the President that it would mean the death knell of the entire labor union movement across the country if baseball management was permitted to bulldoze the player’s union.  The President summoned the top labor/management mediator of the time to mediate.  Commissioner Selig said he was very effective, professional and sincere shuffling between the parties.  At the end of the sessions, he said to Commissioner Selig, like a good mediator, “I have talked with the union.  If you offer ‘this, this and this;’ and remove your proposals on ‘this, this, and this,’ you will have an Agreement.”  So the Commissioner got on the telephone with the owner’s negotiating committee to get their agreement and the authority to offer what the Mediator suggested.  But somehow the wires got crossed and the union still rejected the offer.  Later, the union alleged that Selig was negotiating in bad faith and got the National Labor Relations Board to convince a federal judge to agree.

My feeling is that like then, the union is really in control.  I wonder what they really want.  More ice removed from current Commissioner’s veins?



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