When this whole labor mess first cropped up, the worry was that it would be long and painful and the 2022 season would suffer greatly. Games would be lost. Maybe a lot of games.
Then, the Collective Bargaining Agreement expired at midnight on December 1.
Then, almost immediately, owners instituted a lockout of the players.
Then, it became pretty clear this thing will go on until the very last second it can before a single game is in jeopardy. And, in the end, the season will start on time and no games will be lost.
What made me change my mind on that? The lockout. It prevents a strike.
Look, I could care less about either side’s argument. I honestly do not care what the owners’ revenue is and how much of it they are giving to players. And I honestly do no care what the players are making.
The Rangers signed Corey Seager to play short and Marcus Semien to play second. That’s really all I care about as a fan. For how much or how long is immaterial. If they signed a player for too long and have to pay him for not performing, it’s not my concern. Owners have the money.
All of which leads back to the lockout. In 2020, the players got paid for only 60 games. Sure, the owners went an entire season without the revenue they would normally have but they can sustain that. Players’ earning years are limited. Every year they lose they get closer to when they will no longer earn a dollar in salary.
The lockout means, if they don’t come to an agreement in time, players will forfeit a ton of money for each and every game they lose. And the one thing players hate most is losing money. The lockout basically put a deadline on the entire process. After losing more than half their earning potential in 2020, players won’t risk losing any more in 2022.
How powerful of an incentive is a lockout? It prevents a strike, where players hold all the card. A lockout means owners have the upper hand. Again, I do not care one iota about either side’s argument. I just want baseball.
Before this one, there have been eight work stoppages in baseball since 1972. It’s telling what resulted in each.
In 1972, the players went on strike. 86 games were cancelled.
In 1973, owners locked out the players. Zero games were cancelled.
In 1976, owners locked out the players. Zero games were cancelled.
In 1980, players went on strike. Zero games were cancelled.
In 1981, players went on strike. 713 games were cancelled.
In 1985, players went on strike. Zero games were cancelled.
In 1990, owners locked out the players. Zero games were cancelled.
In 1994, players went on strike. 938 games were cancelled in 1994 and 1995, in addition to the entire 1994 post season.
So, to recap.
Games lost due to lockouts: Zero.
Games lost due to strikes: 1,737.
Bring on the lockout. Wake me up when spring training starts. It will probably be a week later than planned because players hate spring training and want it to be a week shorter anyway.