New York, NY - As both sides of the MLB labor divide (MLBPA and the Owners) dig in for what promises to be a protracted labor struggle that will make many think of the Western Front in World War I, each side will offer a contrasting degree of proposals and counter-proposals. At some point, someone will pull ahead in the fight, and/or the sides just agree to get something done as the losses of money and time wear on each side.
Some of the exchanges of proposals are known. Included so far have been calls for the Universal DH, the expansion of the playoffs, changes to when players are eligible for free agency (an age threshold vs. time in service in the majors), and alterations to the luxury tax levels (the owners calling for a lower ceiling but an actual salary floor and the players calling for an outright increase in the tax). Throw in some alterations to the draft and other mitigating techniques to avoid the plague of tanking, and there is plenty for the standard MLB fan to consider.
Yet, for all the proposals that are getting publicity, there are tons of inputs that are remain locked within the confines of private conversations and electronic correspondence…or at least they are intended to remain private. However, if by some means those inputs find the light of publicity (not that we would ever advocate any nefarious or less-than-above-board methods to relay that information to the world), well, then welcome to the world of public domain.
Here at Totally Not Fake News, we have obtained some of the various proposals, not only between the players and the union, but between the players themselves, various franchises, and other stakeholders within the MLB enterprise:
Proposal: Requirement that teams from LA and NY play each other in as many World Series as possible. Every season would be ideal, but at least once every 2-3 years should be the requirement. At a minimum, one of the participants will be from either the LA or NY media markets for all World Series until the end of time.
Proposer: Fox/TBS/MLB Network, MLB leadership, NY and LA based franchises.
Reason: The 2 largest media markets, with all the potential for tons and tons of advertising money.
Status: While the LA/NY teams were all for it, surprisingly, all 26 non NY/LA market teams voted either No, or Hell No, or No F*****g Way. Sources indicate that the Boston contingent went with the last option. It is reported that the Houston contingent was torn between option two and three, but we aren’t sure where they fell.
Proposal: Requirement that if Joe Buck is to remain the primary play-by-play broadcaster for the marque MLB games, to include the marque LCS and World Series, he can only broadcast on MUTE setting and/or have his mouth sewn shut for those broadcasts
Proposer: Combination of MLB fans and TBS/MLB Network broadcasters
Reason: Listened to any FOX/FS1 baseball broadcasts the past decade or so?
Status: Vigorously approved by fans and given the go-ahead by TBS and MLB network, but the rest of the league is ambivalent about this matter. There was a counter-proposal about doing the same to Alex Rodriguez, but completely banning him from any visual appearances as well. It is thought this would generate a lot of support from many parties, but nil heard on whether this entered open debate.
Proposal: The Houston Astros, having never really been punished for the sign-stealing scandal of 2017-2018, should be banned from hosting any World Series games for at least the next two CBA cycles
Proposer: LA Dodgers, with some support from the New York Yankees and ESPN
Reason: Because the Hurt Feelings report from 2017 hasn’t yet expired, at least according to the form that the Dodgers filed.
Status: Not surprisingly, the Houston Astros are a Hard No on this proposal. Surprisingly, the NL East also objected strenuously to this option. It is confirmed that the Washington and Atlanta franchises voted down this proposal. According to one source, they were all “What, like it is hard to win a World Series game or two in Houston?” The Dodgers contingent also received grief from the fact that they are the only franchise who lost more games in Houston in the Fall Classic than they won. Because the Dodgers forwarded this option, the Giants and the rest of the NL West voted this option down, with significant support from other teams in the NL, to include Milwaukee and Chicago. Even the Chicago White Sox went against this proposal, although they did offer a counter-proposal that no Divisional playoff games should ever be played in Houston. No one took that offer seriously.
Proposal: Designating the LA Dodgers the whiniest franchise in the MLB with the most entitled and thinnest skinned fanbase in the league.
Proposer: Multiple candidates, but it is thought that Houston and San Francisco co-sponsored this option
Reason: Too many to recount here.
Status: While this gained a LOT of support from most other franchises in MLB, the league and broadcast partners proved remarkably cool on this option. Most theorize that due to the media market and celebrity angle that MLB and the broadcast networks are opting for to help ratings probably tabled this option.
Proposal: All teams should be driven to emulate the Tampa Bay model, or at least, be forced to operate with the Tampa Bay budget
Proposer: Some MLB Owners, mostly from small market teams.
Reason: Tampa Bay has been to the playoffs 3 straight seasons. The past 2 seasons saw them achieve the best record in the AL, despite having one of the lowest player payrolls in the league, and competing within the AL East. The thought is that if teams and organizations are deliberately resource constrained, they will look to innovate and optimize their performance without always whining and complaining about having no money. This would also have the side benefit of driving down player salaries, which the owners love.
Status: Most organizations are a hard NO on this one. The MLBPA was livid for anyone bringing this up. Even the Tampa organization took offense to this being called the “Tampa plan” complaining “You think we want to be operating on a shoe-string budget and want to actually play games in Canada?” A number of owners were a bit leery of embracing this system, as there was fear that it would drive down team revenues that could impact stadium deals.
Proposal: If the LA Dodgers win 106 games, and the NL representative to the WS is from the NL East and that team was at any point in the season under .500 and if Houston makes it to the World Series from the AL, has the home-field advantage and Vegas declares it the betting favorite, then the Astros should have the right to call for neutral field sites for all key games, or have the World Series come down to a coin flip or two.
Proposer: Houston Astros
Reason: See 2019 and 2021 The Crawfish Boxes entries about the World Series.
Status: This was such a specific demand with so many unique variables that most parties just looked strangely at the proposal, with most thinking that there is no way this would happen once or twice. The Astros offered a solution of just moving all of their World Series games to either Nationals Park (3-0 WS record) or Chavez Ravine (2-2). No word yet if the league will take them up on that offer.
This is just a sampling of some of the many proposals and offers that may yet come to pass in the weeks ahead. Given that there is little likelihood of the two sides ending the labor impasse/lockout anytime soon, that will give media outlets like ourselves plenty of time for idle speculation and debates. Of course, the League and the MLBPA should just listen to any and all of these outside opinions, as they will have the complete and perfect solution to all of their problems.
Until then, we watch and wait.