Based on the legends, if you were able to get yourself into Fort Knox, you would find two things: gold beyond your wildest imagination and the real, in-depth, totally-comprehensive financial documents of Major League Baseball teams.
That is to say, MLB teams have guarded their books over the years like so much gold bullion.
But if the teams are going to ask players to accept a revenue sharing agreement this year, then they are going to have to be wildly transparent about every last detail on their revenue (including, among other things, what they count as “revenue” and what they exclude). There’s just no reasonable way the players agree to any financial plan tied in any way to revenues on a “hey, just trust us” from MLB owners. There is no trust or goodwill there after years of simmering contention.
Thus, per the Associated Press, the Players Association last night requested “a slew of financial documents that detail the industry’s finances.”
I wouldn’t necessarily take this as a positive development, since (1) the league has not responded yet, (2) even if they do respond, the documents might not be sufficient to be evaluated, and (3) even if they are sufficient to evaluate, that doesn’t mean the players are suddenly open to a revenue-sharing plan.
Instead, I’d take this only to mean that the players are serious that a revenue-sharing plan – or heck, any alteration of salaries beyond prorating – is going to require an unprecedented collaboration on financial information. Maybe if the information is shared by the league as one big whole, as opposed to the individual teams, and is culled together by an independent accounting body, this could work.
For more on what the players stand to gain or lose under the various financial possibilities this year, see here.