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They Call Me...Tim Tim Kurkjian
2002-08-22 21:00
by Mike Carminati

They Call Me...Tim

Tim Kurkjian has an article today on why there won't be a strike. As usual Kurkjian misses the boat entirely. His five reasons are as follows:

1) There's too much to lose on both the players' and the owners' parts. Well, this is always what they say in these situations and yet we are 8 for 8 in work stoppages. The owners always say that the players are making so much that they can't avoid to stop--how does that make sense? Kurkjian also prints the owners' claim that a number of teams won't make it back if there is a strike without realizing it was just a PR statement.

The problem with this sophistic argument is that there is always something to gain, and that is why there are negotiations. If there was nothing to gain in the labor process, then the owners and players would both concede to each other's demands, and puppies and kitties would rule the earth.

2) September 11. He may have a point here. The players do not want to be on strike on the anniversary of the attacks. They remember how important the sport was to the country last year and do not want to spoil it now. They are also human beings with a conscious, who realize that they have been very fortunate.

That said, baseball is a business. A number of things have happened in the business world since last September 11th, and most have not been for the better. There have been massive layoffs in the last year. Will all of those people be re-hired before the anniversary so that the companies will not lose face for being so callous on this somber day. I think not.

3) Bud's legacy. None of the owners care about Bud's legacy except for his daughter and himself if you still consider him an owner. Actually, having a convenient scapegoat is a great advantage for the owners. The owners can be swayed and channeled by Selig, but cannot get them to do something that they do not believe in. They will settle if it is in their best interest to do so.

4) It's about the money. He admits the fallacy of this argument at the end of the paragraph. Donald Fehr has been quoted as saying that the luxury tax is a de facto salary cap in his leaked memo to the players. Whether that was a negotiating position, propaganda to his constituency, or a strongly-held belief has yet to be determined, but it's safe to say that it is about slightly more than money.

5) Public relations. Baseball has made it abundantly clear that they are not concerned with public relations. Contraction, claims of teams' insolvency to the point of their being unable to make payroll, and statements regarding competitive balance, or the lack thereof, have all made headlines in the past year. They are concerned about public perception of their product, but no so far as to alter their plans dramatically to garner public approval. I'm convinced that the key people believe as Barry Bonds stated so eloquently, "People still ride the bus."

If you need a reason why there will not be a strike it's that a new Collective Bargaining Agreement will have been signed. That's it. I believe that there will be baseball on August 30, not because of PR or Bud or 9/11, but because they are close enough, from all reports, to get a deal done. Of course, all bets are of until we get Bud Selig's and Don Fehr's John Hancocks on a new CBA.

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