You can copy Nike and say, “Just Do It.” Steal from the Larry “The Cable Guy,” “Git er done.” It’s never wrong to quote from Caddyshack, “Let’s go while we’re young.”
Baseball needs to strike a deal with the players association in the next 40 days.
It is a rare opportunity when MLB gets to be the progressive league. MLB gets to be a trendsetter if it moves now. Without an appearance of trying to show up other sports, MLB would be slapping Goodell, Smith, Stern & Hunter right across the face.
The NFL can’t find a way to divide 9.4 billion dollars. The NBA just asked the NBAPA to accept a hard cap and a 40% salary rollback. The NFLPA is tying up the progress towards a deal in the courts while the NBAPA has just filed unfair labor practice charges against the league to the National Labor Relations Board. It wasn’t that long ago that the NHL shut down for an entire season. The irritability of fans could never be higher.
The All-Star Game is coming to Arizona. Use that platform to make the Earth-shattering announcement. Too much attention will be placed on the legal fight of SB 1070. Steal the media’s thunder by giving them a much bigger story. Instead of, “Do you, Mr. Player, believe Arizona should be hosting an All-Star Game while deporting illegal aliens?” you would get, “Why, Mr. Player, do you think the MLB and MLBPA care more about their fans than football and basketball care about theirs?” MLB could tap into the rage of fans right now by saying, “Don’t worry, we’ve got your game.”
Maybe MLB should not let the media in on the scoop. Imagine if Bud Selig and Michael Weiner (MLBPA President) walked to a PA microphone behind home plate at Chase Field. The backdrop is all of the All-Stars surrounding the Commissioner with their union leader. The stadium PA announcer says, “Ladies and Gentlemen: Commissioner Bud Selig and MLBPA President Michael Weiner.”
Ladies and Gentlemen: I have an announcement for baseball fans everywhere. The owners of Major League Baseball would like to thank the Major League Baseball Players Association for their devotion to keep the game going. Through conscientious and difficult talks though never derogatory, MLB and the MLBPA have agreed to a new 5-year collective bargaining agreement. There will be no strike. There will be no lock-out in Major League Baseball. For the next 5 ½ years, you will hear (insert cute kid to yell in the mic) “PLAY BALL!”
The shock to fans and media would be amazing. The players would all gather around and start shaking the commissioner’s hand. Fans would immediately see the irony of the moment. On the deadest sports day of the year, (the day after the MLB All-Star Game) the sports world would be abuzz with stories about the labor agreement. Everyone would talk about the owners and players’ understanding of the economic plight of fans.
Goodell and Stern would be in the middle of lockouts. For the first time in his tenure, Goodell would be asked, “Why can’t the NFL be more like Major League Baseball?”
Fans disgusted with the NBA and NFL would spend money on MLB. Why save up for NBA season tickets when you’re not sure if they’re going to play? Why keep making payments to hold your NFL season tickets when you can spend that money on baseball’s pennant races?
I know it would be tough to get a deal done in the next month. Neither side would want to risk a terrible mistake that creates an uneven balance just to say the deal is done. The urgency, however, needs to be created now. MLB can’t wait until near the end of the season or rely on pressure from the upcoming 2012 season to negotiate with the intent to deal. The MLBPA can’t be threatening strikes to wipe out the end of the season.
Selig needs to meet with the owners immediately and find their breaking point. Not what they want but what they will accept. Weiner needs to know what the players can give up and what they demand. Both men need to come to the table with the idea they are working on a deal and not posturing for future negotiations.
This can’t wait. Show a side MLB has never shown. Take advantage of the most incredible time in sports. No sports league has ever announced an agreement while two other major sports are in a lock-out. It’s time for MLB to be the first.
Git ‘er done, Bud.