Ballplayers have been frozen out by their billionaire bosses for two straight winters in free agency. Are they ready to do anything about it? At the All-Star Game, at least, that depends who you ask.
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale painted a flowery picture of proletariat solidarity from his ASG dispatch.
Red Sox star J.D. Martinez emphasized the cohesion among vets and younger stars. “There’s a thought that the association is weaker than it’s ever been because of all of the younger players,” said Martinez, “but I think a lot of young players are beginning to understand. We’re all united."
Pirates slugger Josh Bell came the closest to suggesting a strike, telling USA Today, “I know work stoppages in the past have worked to our benefit for the longevity of the game, the longevity of the player, and for the compensation of the player. Just for equal rights.”
Most importantly, he echoed Martinez’ sentiment: “We are together on this.”
Don’t throw your fists in the air just yet. Stephanie Apstein, reporting for Sports Illustrated, published a stunningly different characterization about the players’ attempt to improve on the current Collective Bargaining Agreement. She argues that the players are “hopelessly overmatched” and goes from there:
“Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado doesn’t know when the collective-bargaining agreement between MLB and the players’ association expires. Giants reliever Will Smith doesn’t know who his team’s union representative is. Cubs shortstop Javier Báez says he has never heard of the CBA.”
Whether Baez learns about the CBA or not, it expires in 2021.