WALKER BUEHLER: NO, I DON’T ‘GET’ WHERE YOU ARE COMING FROM

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]I spent a good amount of time late Saturday afternoon reading about the state of the Major League Baseball labor dispute.

I was playing “catch up” because — honestly — I had very little interest in hearing what the owners and players were saying since the lockout started three months ago. Yes, that’s right. Let’s not forget that MLB has been shutdown since December 2, 2021.

For two full months neither side did anything. Now, they are in a mad rush to get a deal done.

Remember this?

“We believe that an off-season lockout is the best mechanism to protect the 2022 season. We hope that the lockout will jumpstart the negotiations and get us to an agreement that will allow the season to start on time. This defensive lockout was necessary because the Players Association’s vision for Major League Baseball would threaten the ability of most teams to be competitive. It’s simply not a viable option. From the beginning, the M.L.B.P.A. has been unwilling to move from their starting position, compromise, or collaborate on solutions.” – MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred

I didn’t believe it then, and I certainly don’t believe it now.

While it’s being reported that players and owners have reached agreement on small matters, their is still a significant divide on the major issues (luxury tax, minimum salary and the pre-arbitration bonus pool) that has created a sense of urgency and pressure. As it should be. They’ve brought it on themselves.

ESPN suggested “players were angered by the state of negotiations.” As fans, do we care about their “anger” and frustration? Absolutely not.

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler will tell you on social media that this isn’t about “millionaires and billionaires.” I beg to differ. According to Forbes, in 2021, “the average franchise value is 1.9 billion.”

Those numbers don’t jibe with Buehler’s recently deleted tweets:

TWEET No. 1

PLEASE tell me how what we, the players, are asking for is crazy? Inflation happens. Markets rise. Money grows. Ask our owners. They know. Why would we agree to less than even inflation level income rises? Would you take that?

TWEET No. 2

This isn’t millionaires vs. billionaires. This is workers vs. owners. The value is subjective. We are EXTREMELY lucky to do what we do but the numbers don’t line up. I appreciate the fans getting where we are coming from. Truly.

For the record: Buehler earned $570,000 his rookie season (2019), $3.75 million in 2021 and is under contract to earn $8 million guaranteed that included a $2 million signing bonus. Buehler is a millionaire. The owners are billionaires.

Buehler’s more than 80,000 followers on Twitter are fans; hard-working Americans who earn, on average, $51,480 annually. These are the people Buehler is communicating with on social media. They are the same audience that will be encouraged to purchase tickets, merchandise, concessions, etc. that fund a portion of player salaries.

Inflation is out of control. Depending on where you live, a gallon of gas will cost you anywhere between $3.50-$5 per gallon. The U.S . Bureau of Labor Statistics reports “the six major grocery store food groups (meats, poultry, fish, and eggs) increased 12.2%.”

Don’t lecture me on inflation. I don’t “get” where you are coming from.

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About the author

John Strubel

Hi. My name is John Strubel. Thanks for visiting my website. I write primarily about my passion: baseball. In addition, I occasionally publish posts and podcasts related to sports media, journalism and technology impacting the industry. You can also connect with me on social media @johnstrubel.

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