Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Baseball Owners Colluding Against Players?

All World All Sports

-Digger's Daily-

It might not be long before the Major League Baseball Players Association files a formal grievance against baseball owners. Once again, the union is expected to claim owners collectively conspired against free agents after last season.

Former Milwaukee Brewers owner turned Commissioner Bud Selig responded. "That's fine. They're entitled to their opinion," Selig said Tuesday at a meeting of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. "Given the world we live in and what's happened in the last 18 months, I think this is one sport where I can't even fathom that anybody could think that."

Who is he kidding? Selig has been an embarassment. Scandal after scandal has emerged throughout Selig's tenure as commissioner. Owners colluding is something Selig knows all too well. It's not the first time MLBPA has accused owners of conspiring against players. It won't be the last either.

Owners paid MLBPA a $280 million settlement after an independant arbitrator ruled in favor of the players following the 1985-87 seasons. Selig was the current Brewers owner at the time. The union filed again after 2002-03 seasons and owners settled with no admission of guilt for $12 million.

Drug abuse, gambling charges, steroids, conspiracy, collusion, juiced baseballs, taxpayer funded billion dollar stadiums and umpires. Pick your topic, they've all disgraced America's greatest pastime.. Selig is nothing more than a talking head for baseball's greed driven boys club, formally called baseball owners. These guys have operated free and clear to do just about anything they've wanted in absence of an impartial commissioner. Common sense dictates a former owner turned commissioner cannot be impartial.

New union chief Michael Weiner is gearing up to take the helm at one of our nations strongest unions (MLBPA) replacing retiring Don Fehr. According to various reports, players agents are pushing the union to take action based on owners lack of offering contracts to big name free agents. In addition, with the current season at the halfway point, NO players eligible to file for free agency at seasons end has received contract extensions. Uh-oh, something smells pretty fishy again. No players offered extensions is a clear indicator owners are in a lock down mode financially. Oddly curious since Selig often boasts of record revenues and receipts. Can anyone name the last time baseball owners, specifically in NY, LA or Boston, failed to extend contracts for their top players?

"The investigation is ongoing but not complete because of things to review," Weiner said Monday before the All-Star Home Run Derby. "We've had some discussions with the commissioner's office. I'll know more I think by the end of the month."

Let there be no mistake, our current economic downturn will or has hit owners hard. Texas is rumored to have borrowed $15 million to cover current payroll requirements. Mets owner Fred Wilpon lost hundreds of millions in the Madoff scandal. Teams will be taking lumps due to decreasing attendance figures. The days of wild spending on free agents could be, or should be, dwindling downwards. No one being offered extensions is an entirely different scenario.

What I'm waiting to finally hear is MLBPA demanding Selig's resignation as Commissioner of Major League Baseball. After the 1919 Chicago Black Sox betting scandal baseball owner's selected Federal Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis to restore confidence to the integrity of baseball jeopardized by scandal. Isn't it high time another independent commish is named to bring back public confidence?


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