MLB Lockout Day 70: Players Are "United to Protect the Integrity of the Game"

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MLB Lockout Day 70: Players Are “United to Protect the Integrity of the Game”

Chicago Cubs

There isn’t a whole lot to share tonight, as the owners meetings in Florida have stayed quiet from reporters’ ears for now. Maybe that means they are making real progress in getting more realistic and reasonable in what offers need to be coming soon. Though we already know that Spring Training is going to be delayed, with an announcement likely coming tomorrow. As usual, I’m not getting my hopes up. (UPDATE: The offer appears to be coming Saturday.)

But there is a little something to share out of Arizona, where a number of players have been meeting with MLB Players Association reps.

Gerrit Cole, one of the notable voices in the players union, tweeted about the state of the MLBPA meetings, and the solidarity the players are feeling:

I haven’t seen much else out there from other players who attended today’s meeting, so I find Cole’s choice of message all the more interesting (i.e., it wasn’t a coordinate push to have lots of players send out a specific message at the same time). The focus is on “protect(ing) the integrity of the game.” That is a way to sum up a lot of the players’ biggest asks: combating tanking, eliminating service time games, and reducing revenue-sharing to teams that won’t use it the way they are supposed to.

It’s an understandable message, though ultimately what’s really at stake – because it all ultimately funnels to this – is more money going to the players, who have very likely not been receiving their fair share over the last two CBAs. So it’s probably pretty easy to meet Cole’s message with cynicism (and that’s before making any Spider Tack jokes). Doesn’t mean he’s wrong, I’m just saying it’s fine with me if the players’ primary message is: yo, we would like better compensation, thanks. Admittedly a message that is probably harder for a $300+ million player like Cole to share, as opposed to the vast majority of players who make close to the minimum.

I wonder if we’ll see an increase in this kind of messaging from players in the days and weeks ahead. An even heavier focus on competitive integrity. It’s possible this was just a one-off tweet idea from Cole, but it’s also possible the talk today laid out some strategy. We’ll see.

Like I said, I’m fine with it. But I have to confess, it wells up in me something that I’m pretty frustrated about under the surface: the fact that these CBA negotiations have made it impossible for the league and the players to address the many issues WITH THE GAME, ITSELF, which need addressing as soon as possible (on-field action, length of games, broadcast and streaming delivery to fans, cost of access and attendance, ensuring all kids can play baseball if they want, etc.). I understand that these issues are not explicitly connected, but when you tee up the idea that the CBA negotiations are about preserving and ensuring the good in the game, it makes me think about that stuff, too. Which isn’t even on the table. Because of the CBA negotiations and the lockout. I don’t blame the players on the timing, obviously. I’m just being honest about what it calls to mind. It doesn’t take much to piss me off right now.

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.