I think the players have a responsibility to help find a financial solution that allows major league baseball to be played this year. For the long-term damage to reputation and revenue without games will make the 2020 salary dispute feel like fighting for a drop of water and ending up with an ocean of problems.
I think the players are more than just the employees. They also are stewards of the game and they have a chance in the next few weeks to renew positive nostalgic ties with baseball and Americana while creating new fans that will ultimately lead to more revenue streams that set them, future players and the sport up in a better fashion.
Here is what I don’t think: The players are greedy. That designation was tired when it was said about Babe Ruth and Sandy Koufax and Reggie Jackson. I get it you played baseball as a kid and think you would do it for free as a profession. You wouldn’t. No one works for free.
You think the money would be better spent on nurses and teachers. Agreed. Redirect all you spent that helped make MLB an $11 billion industry last year to nurses and teachers. If there is less money in the game, players will make less.
You think the players should be grateful. Most are. But also we should be grateful. I watched the owners’ replacement baseball folly in spring 1995 and sorry to break it to you, but you were not one better coach in high school away from the majors. These are the best players distilled through a Darwinian system that separates those who can and cannot. As a society we have decided to value this particular rare skill set. You and corporations paid the $11 billion. Owners gave roughly half of that to players, as they did pretty much every year before a pandemic. No one had a gun to anyone’s head to spend it.