All Revved Up With No Place To Go
by Ed Botti
It’s been a long, hectic and relaxing week. My week started last Sunday at 6:00 AM as my wife and I left for Newark Airport for an early morning flight to a place we had never been; Providenciales, Turks and Caicos.
Photo by John Rizzuto
As with most “time off” it takes a day or so to get acclimated. The resort we went to was huge; made up of 4 different themed sections (Caribbean, Italian, French, and Key West). After that first day of trying to figure out where your room is each time you return, you start to recognize faces and the obligatory head nod follows, which eventually leads to a hello, and then finally a conversation.
For me the first real conversation I had with another vacationer was during our first full day’s breakfast, and of course it was Yankee related.
I was wearing my vintage Yankee batting practice T-Shirt with the large white number 15 and “MUNSON” scrawled across my shoulders. As I walked through the restaurant I was approached by a guy who started the conversation by giving me a thumbs up, following by “they could use a guy like Thurman”.
As it turned out this gentleman was actually a good friend of Michael Munson, Thurman and Diane Munson’s son.
We talked for few minutes and went our way. Before making our way back to our families he gave me the name and address of a restaurant called Munson’s Home Plate Sports Bar that Michael Munson owns. He told me if I am ever in Canton to go and tell Michael I know his friend, who goes by the name of “Noise”.
At one point I told him about Start Spreading the News and then proceeded to tell him that I recently interviewed Ron Blomberg and wrote an article about Blomberg and Thurman. I gave him the web site address and how to find the article. He told me he was sending it to Michael Munson.
Our conversation ended when he looked at me and asked “will they play ball this year”?
For the remainder of the trip while meeting people from all different cities, of course sports was discussed, and that same question was asked over and over again. From the Philly fan to Cub fan to the Ranger fan to the Red Sox fan (that was a fun conversation!) to the Cleveland Indians fan (he refused to say Guardians) the same question was asked.
The guys I spoke to essentially have the same opinion; greed is at the core of this dispute, and neither side gives a “you know what” about the fans.
I could not argue with them.
We are all ready for warmer weather and we want our Baseball back. We are tired of the indifferent approach both sides seem to have taken and we are tired of the $ being thrown around.
As my new friend “Noise” stated “these guys make so much money and none of them have Thurman’s heart and guts”.
I don’t know if “none of them” have his heart, but I got the point. Fans are tired of caring more then the players do. Fans are tired of being used and abused. When will these two sides consider the fans? You know, the people that actually fund the coffers that finance the entire industry.
As the days went on and I would read my normal sports sections of the various newspapers and blogs (lousy internet connection, notwithstanding) that question kept popping up in my mind.
Preparing for our return home flight, I read that the two sides have set up a meeting for this Monday. This will mark the second “meeting” since December 1, 2021. They had a video conference call, that apparently did not go so great, back on January 13th that was covered extensively here at SSTN.
On Monday MLBPA will provide a counterproposal to the deal the owners tendered on the 13th. Obviously, I was not on that video conference on January 13th, but I am imagining that the MLBPA will look for a deal that starts with multifaceted fundamental modifications to the industry’s monetary system.
The current system sanctions players to achieve free agency after six years of service time, and permits salary arbitration for players in the top 22% of the players between two and three years’ service time (“Super 2s”).
MLBPA also wants to satisfy the players’ appeal to eliminate tanking and get all 30 teams to honestly field competitive teams and increase team spending.
The recent MLB proposal contained a procedure to compensate players that fall between two and three years’ service time that would essentially remove arbitration for the Super 2s and purportedly would provide that group more money than it currently earns. It would also put an end to service time manipulation by adding draft-pick rewards for teams whose top prospects win major awards in their first three seasons, and a draft lottery structure for the three teams with the worst records.
Additionally MLBPA wants a more profound increase of the luxury-tax threshold, currently set at $210 million.
The two sides also disagree on how many teams should qualify in the now expanded playoff structure. MLB wants 14 teams and MLBPA wants 12 teams.
All of these things and more are on the table. None of the issues being negotiated have a single thing to do with us, the fans. No one has our 6. No one cares how much we have to spend to take a family to a game. No one cares that MLB and ESPN can decide at the 11th hour to change a Sunday day game to 8:00 PM. No one cares that the World Series ends so late on the east coast that most fans are fast asleep when the last out is recorded.
I often hear both sides say “this is a business”. Well, no one cares about the customers of this “business”.
That needs to change.
An astute man once sang “Poor man want to be rich, rich man want to be king, and a king ain’t satisfied till he rules everything”.
So what else happened during my week in the sun?
Photo by David Gravely, Southwest Times
Baseball America ranked Shortstop Anthony Volpe as the 10th best MLB prospect, Oswald Peraza as the 55th and Jasson Dominguez at 87th.
Carlos Beltran has materialized as an attention-grabbing candidate to be a YES game analyst.
The Yankees signed right hander Jimmy Cordero (30) who was most recently with the White Sox.
Cordero had Tommy John surgery last March. He is on target to be back by midseason this year. He’s shown encouraging promise in the past. In 2019 he had a 0.972 WHIP in 36 innings pitched during his 30 appearances with the White Sox.
The Bronx Bombers also decided to add to their minor league shortstop depth by signing 6-foot-2, 178-pound Roderick Arias to a $4 million deal. Arias was the highest rated prospect on the international market according to MLB.com.
Arias is a 17-year-old from Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. It was reported that the Bombers were especially impressed by his arm strength at shortstop, in addition to his ability to switch-hit.
It is projected that Arias immediately becomes one of the Yankees’ top 10-15 prospects.
The Melk-man made his final delivery.
According to Hector Gomez, a baseball writer from the Dominican Republic, Melky Cabrera has called it a career.
Melky finished off his scandal plagued career with a .285/.334/.417 slash line, 1,962 hits, 144 home runs and a 2012 All-Star.
He came up as a Yankees and played his first five seasons of his career in the Bronx.
Cabrera was the second-youngest Yankee, after Mickey Mantle (1953), to hit a walk-off home run when he did so in 2006.
Melky hit his stride in 2009 when he was an important piece of the 2009 World Champions playing 154 games and hitting for the cycle on August 2nd.
In the offseason the Yankees traded for Curtis Granderson and sent Melky to the Braves in the Javier Vazquez part II deal.
During the week we lost sports journalist Les Grobstein, a longtime Chicago sports reporter and talk show host. If you have been to Chicago, you would know his work. He lasted over 5 decades as a fixture in the Windy City sports scene.
New York Islander Captain and four-time Stanley Cup champion Clark Gillies passed away Friday night at age 67.
Gillies played 12 seasons on Long Island and went to the playoffs every single season he played as an Islander.
Gillies played on the “Trio Grande” line with Mike Bossy and Bryan Trottier and scored more than 30 goals in a season six times as an Islander.
Lastly, big time baseball fan and incredible performer Marvin Lee Aday, better known as Meat Loaf, passed away.
“But there ain’t no Coup de Ville hiding at the bottom of a Cracker Jack box”!
Somewhere right now, he is explaining to Phil Rizzuto exactly what paradise by the dashboard lights actually means!
Enjoy this weekend’s NFL Playoffs and lets all hope we can get a deal done on Monday!