FanShot

Why I'm pro player now and now always will be.

You see the thing is about players, is that they are relatible to you or me. We never get an article about some owner (I know they're under lock and key right not, but something tells me that if Ted Leonsis wanted to, he could get something out there like this, but lets face it, the owners have no stories like this. Also, because Marvin Miller passed away. I got to read this (ok, auto link isn't working for me but: http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/40433510) Let me quote what I think is the most important: For every question, there was an emphatic answer. For every proposition there was suspicion. For every search for middle ground, there was a powerful push back. But, through it all, I don’t think he raised his voice once. Through it all, I don’t believe he ever said one word that hinted at arrogance or dismissiveness. He was just explaining things, patiently, with some humor, without doubt. Steve Fehr, who has worked with his brother Don as special counsel for the MLBPA and now with the NHL, watched Marvin Miller talk with players many times, and that ability to simply talk with people was what struck him, too. "He was just so eloquent," Fehr says. "He could always calmly articulate the situation, whatever it was, and he could talk on the player’s level." When I told Miller that people seemed against the MLBPA, he shrugged -- same as it ever was. "People don’t know the issues," he said. "They don’t understand. Even President Bush doesn’t understand. He said he would be ‘outraged’ if there was a strike. Ask the President if he’s in favor of a tax that would discourage companies from paying higher salaries. Ask him that. He’s as ignorant as the rest of them." "You mean the luxury tax." "Luxury tax. That’s a very clever name. Luxury tax. It sounds harmless. Of course, that doesn’t describe what it is. It is a penalty, and a large one, which is designed to prevent clubs from hiring people and prevent them from paying people what they should get on the opening market." Well, some people would say that the game needs a luxury tax or a soft salary cap to help competitive balance. "For them to say this is about competitive balance is a lie. And I can prove it to you. They say some teams can’t afford to pay the good players, right? That’s the essence of the competitive balance argument. ... Well, if they cared about competitive balance, they would demand that revenue sharing money go to payroll, right? They would put something in place that ensures everybody that owners will spend that shared money on players. ... The owners share revenue now and almost none of that money goes to payroll. Their whole argument is a lie." Some players -- current and former -- seem to feel like the union has already won so many battles, it should be willing to meet the owners more in the middle. "I remember when we were trying to do away with the reserve clause. I marveled at the fact that something like that could be in players’ contracts. ... But even more, I marveled at the fact that, when I brought it up to the players, they gave me a response which, in effect, said baseball couldn’t survive without it. They had been brainwashed to believe the reserve clause was good for baseball." Yes, maybe, but what about fans? They cannot even relate to the money these players make. How can you expect them to relate to the players’ plight? "I don’t expect that. Fans never have related. Here’s what I would say to that. Fans don’t seem to understand that the largest pocketbook issue that faces them is the tax money being used for essentially free stadiums for wealthy owners. That’s hundreds of millions of dollars in cities where schools are crumbling and highways and bridges need repair. "Players make what they deserve to make on the open market. That’s all. And let me say this again: Fans have their rights. But they should have nothing to say on what a player earns. I liken it to an automobile company. Somebody might buy six or seven Chevrolets in his life. Automobile companies ought to listen to the things he has to say about how a car looks, how it runs, how it stands up. All important things. But I don’t think a car buyer has any right to have any input whatsoever on the wages and benefits of automobile employees." At this point, he dismissed the gloom and doom of some owners -- "I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that this or that is the end of baseball," he said -- and he expressed some disdain for people who decided that the players and owners were equally culpable in their fight. I imagine that he would express that same disdain for people who look at the current hockey fiasco and blame the owners and players both. "Yes, I hear people say, ‘A plague on both your houses.’ You know what that is? That’s lazy thinking. It’s intellectual dishonesty. That’s people saying, ‘I don’t care about the issues. I don’t care who’s right. It could be that what the owners are offering is terrible, it may be outrageous, but take it anyway because I don’t want a stoppage.’ How awful is that?’" I would have loved to have done all the quotie quotes we would have done under the old site, but it won't let me. So from here look back at that. How unnecessary are the 'owners' in this, and well, any other sport. For the most part, most of them don't pay for where they play. Or if they do it's very subsidized like the avalanche. I guess it's just another way of seeing things.

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