Listen to Bernie Sanders and end the bosses’ baseball lockdown
There is war, disease and the prospect of a nuclear winter, and yet President Joe Biden lost yet another opportunity to raise his voice against the Major League Baseball lockdown during the State of Union on Tuesday. Baseball is low on the list of anxieties that have colonized our minds lately, but the situation calls for some sort of intervention, because this sports tragedy is so reflective of the grotesque inequalities that define this country. Baseball is “the national pastime,” and that pastime is being held hostage by 30 billionaires and their puppet Commissioner Rob Manfred. This is not the “billionaires versus millionaires” feud, a narrative of the bosses that most mainstream media have dutifully reproduced, but a lockout – not a strike, a lockout: the wealthiest parasites of the sport have unilaterally closed the game. It’s so obviously a “bosses’ strike” that baseball insiders sound like Che Guevara. ESPN’s Jeff Passan wrote, “If you went after the next 1,200 best players in the world, the product would suffer a lot. If you put MLB teams in the hands of 30 capable businessmen, the sport wouldn’t suffer. In fact, it could get better.
The billionaires’ rationale is that they are “losing money” – a claim that strains credulity, not least because they won’t open their books to either the union or an independent arbitrator. They also say it’s about striking a “competitive balance” by imposing de facto salary caps to limit what can be spent, but say nothing about creating a salary floor so that franchise owners who pocketing public funds and cable network money while ignoring on-field product will either start spending or selling their teams. No, this is revenge for the years the baseball union kicked the collective asses of the bosses. It’s about rage. It’s about a group of people, led by Manfred, who love profits more than gambling. They’ve now canceled the legendary opening day, at a time when the league could offer solace and escape in troubled times. .
But the owners in their pampered seclusion don’t care how it all looks. They are betting on cracking players under the weight of their lost paychecks and shortened careers. All the players have is their own solidarity, and heaven knows we need as many examples of high-level unity in the face of boss greed as possible. At a time when Starbucks workers across the country are trying to unite and stay united in the face of the breakdown of unions, players have a chance to show the world that togetherness is the only way to win.
Biden may have chosen not to seize this moment and recognize the significance of what is happening, but Senator Bernie Sanders has taken a different approach. The baseball-loving Vermont senator spoke out, tweeting to his millions of followers: “The 30 owners of Major League Baseball are worth over $100 billion. The value of their teams has increased by more than $41 billion since they bought them. Mr. Manfred: End the lockout. Negotiate in good faith. Don’t let the greed of baseball owners rob us of our national pastime.
Sanders loves and has been marked by baseball. In 1957, when the Dodgers moved from his hometown of Brooklyn to Los Angeles, it taught him a lesson about how greed can triumph over love, when plutocrats are given free rein. “I don’t want to tell you that was the only reason I developed the policy that I developed,” he said in an interview. “But when I was a kid, I saw the greed of one particular company in this case. And it stuck with me.” He also once lamented, “It was like they were moving the bridge of Brooklyn in California How can you move the Brooklyn Bridge in California?
America’s most prominent democratic socialist was forever shaped by the withdrawal of his favorite team and the destruction of the hallowed ground that was Ebbets Field. It makes you wonder how many hearts will be broken – how many perspectives like Jeff Passan’s will be forged – in the spring of 2022 and how many teenage minds will be radicalized as they watch the sport of their dreams turn into a nightmare. closed stadiums and the silent sounds of Shohei Otani’s home runs that won’t be taken. Much of what once passed for the community has been torn apart over the past 50 years. If baseball and a day at the park are to be added to the list, don’t let it go without a fight. Players must not be slandered as co-conspirators in the destruction of the game. End the boss lockout and stop the corporate greed that is ruining baseball.