Friday, May 15, 2020

Orioles Victory Card Number Fourteen (1987 Season Edition): Update on the current season

Baltimore Orioles victory number 14: 6-4 over the Chicago White Sox

2009 Topps Finest Nick Markakis Blue Rerfractor

Nothing like a six-game road trip to raise the spirits of a team. The Orioles finished off their sweep of the White Sox with a 6-4 win in Chicago. They hit 3 more home runs which brought their total in the series to an impressive 12. The bats, especially the middle of the order ones, have heated up. The pitching staff has been good enough to pick the wins, but other than Scott McGregor's outing against Minnesota, there hasn't been much consistency. The bullpen still has its ups and downs, but hopefully some relief is on the way.

So things seem to be stabilizing in 1987, how about 2020? How are things going right now.  Well, not much has changed. Sports are still on pause. At least leagues are starting to be in a position to talk about restarting competition. The owners have agreed amongst themselves on a plan to get through these weird times.

Of course, agreeing amongst themselves is the easy part. Getting the players to agree to it is another thing. Meetings are underway, but don't expect a lot of positive news in the next week. The big sticking point is likely to be the 50/50 split of any revenue generated whenever the season starts back up.

The players have already agreed to a reduction in their salaries back in March when the lockdown's began. Their salaries were set to be paid on a pro-rated basis based on the number of games played. So you can imagine that they might be a bit disgruntled to be asked to sacrifice even more of their salary. 

With the CBA coming up for renewal in 2021 they are wary of giving the owners any leeway in regards to how salaries are arranged. They can ask their hockey brethren about how well a 50/50 revenue split goes. If you're not familiar with how the hockey world works, just type "NHL escrow" into your Google Machine and enjoy.

I'm sure if asked, the owners will say that it's a temporary thing and that it's the "only way" they can survive moving forward, especially if fans aren't allowed to attend games at any point of the season. They do have a point. Without ticket revenue their bottom lines do take a hit, but why should the players just take their word for it?

The only way the players are going to agree to a revenue split is if they know the owners are being truthful about their finances. They have zero trust built up with the players union and if the players aren't sure exactly what revenue is being divided up, how do they know that they're getting their fair share? It's not like the owners have the best history when it comes to being truthful about business relations with the players (seeL collusion and free agency). 

Will not having fans in the stands hurt the owner's pocket books? Yes, but, according to Statista ticket revenue as a percentage of the league's overall revenue has been declining since 2009. IN 2019, it only accounted for about 30% of the total revenue. As long as games are being played money will still roll into the coffers from their deals with ESPN, Fox, and their streaming partners. You can't forget about their "official gaming" partnership with MGM.

That being said, the players do have to realize that a pro-rated salary may not be enough. The owners are footing the bulk of any financial losses and they are interested in getting things going as soon as possible. They can't dig a line in the sand and become overly rigid in negotiations. They may have to accept some terms that they feel are uncomfortable if they are to come to an agreement. After all, isn't the best compromise one that leaves both parties feeling a little uneasy?

All of this is just empty theorizing if the health aspect of this issue isn't solved. Until they get approval from state and federal officials to restart the season and can assure the players that all precautions are being taken to prevent the spread of the virus without affecting the non-baseball world in a negative way, what's the point?

Millionaires (the players) vs billionaires (the owners) is never a great look when the unemployment rate is over 20%, but seeing those two groups snipe back and forth is a bit of a return to normal. 

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