The Rundown: Gov. Pritzker Backs MLB Owners, Mark Teixeira Blasts Players, Ian Happ Favors Universal DH

“While money can’t buy happiness, it certainly lets you choose your own form of misery.” – Groucho Marx

If you blinked you probably missed the exact point that mainstream media decided baseball’s anticipated return changed from a health and safety issue to one about money. Though I believe there can be no winners in the millionaires vs. billionaires war, I do believe that airing that basket full of dirty laundry is not the best PR given everything else that is going on outside of baseball’s bubble industry, reporters and editorial pieces be damned.

Frederick Lewis Donaldson wrote in 1925 that seven social sins exist, and that theory still holds true today.

  1. Wealth without work.
  2. Pleasure without conscience.
  3. Knowledge without character.
  4. Commerce without morality.
  5. Science without humanity.
  6. Worship without sacrifice.
  7. Politics without principle.

Donaldson was a clergy member and Christian socialist, and short of getting into a debate on economic policy in the comments section, there is merit to those seven principles. That’s particularly true at a time when people fear getting sick or possibly dying from something they can’t see coming, don’t know if they are carrying it, and can’t be certain that an immunity will ever exist.

No matter which side of the argument you favor, I think we can all agree that we miss baseball and would like to see it safely return to our daily lives. I’ve already grown tired of simulated games and seasons and I am losing interest in sports altogether in favor of other outlets that fill the pastoral void in my life that baseball once did, such as music and art. Of course the NY Times daily Sudoku puzzle doesn’t satiate my craving of analytics, but, at least I get to practice abstract thinking.

And that raises an interesting point that David Kaplan of Comcast Sports Chicago made in his conversation with Jon, Evan and Danny on yesterday’s broadcast of The Rant: could fans be so alienated by the anticipated money grab between players and owners that they would forever turn their backs on the game?

Yes and no. Labor wars have always cost the game some of its fans, but most come back, and the thing about baseball is that it’s almost impossible to ignore it no matter how hard you try. Were I representing the owners, I’d be a little concerned about the long tail of going into financial battle against the players union right now. Based on the current economy and staggering unemployment rate, tickets my not be as easy a sell as they were in a pre-pandemic world. In fact, in what was a robust economy, the game had already seen attendance loss for three straight years.

Adding some new wrinkles and testing some new ideas to accommodate a shortened season may pique some interest among casual fans, but none of that helps attendance if those changes don’t carry over to future seasons when fans are allowed back into major league stadiums.

Let’s not forget that the current CBA expires after next season, and realistically both sides are bearing the weight of that negotiation while the current debate continues. Maybe it would be better to just cancel the season completely and work on getting a new agreement in place instead. It’s probably not the best idea to ask fans to choose sides in what looks to be an 18-month war, and possibly even longer if there is a work stoppage.

Do the players then really owe it to the American public to just give in? Are you kidding me? J.B. Pritzker is way, way out of his depth, and the large faction of union laborers that helped get him elected should at least be a little concerned with his statement regarding the MLBPA. Pritzker also mentioned that the “players are holding out” which is not a factual statement unless he knows something we do not.

The union should not be making financial concessions to get this season started. Owners can recoup losses over time, but players — especially those on the other side of 30 — cannot make up lost income. I’m okay if the union refuses to stand down to league owners and if the season never starts because the players won’t give in.

In the meantime, can we please consider what’s at stake from a safety point of view instead? The financial tit-for-tat is meaningless if the game cannot fully protect its greatest assets. To the credit of both sides, talks yesterday were about player safety only according to reports.

Cubs News & Notes

Find Your Inner Hero

A New Mexico man, on a mission to buy socks for his grandfather, found a clear plastic bag with  $135,000 dollars in cash in it next to a local ATM. That can buy a whole lot of socks, right? He said he never once thought of keeping it (never, not even for a second?) and returned all of the money to the bank.

Apropos of Nothing

If you are ever in Wisconsin and someone asks you where the nearest time machine is, you are really being asked for the nearest ATM. That’s because in their original concept, the cash dispensaries were called “Take Your Money Everywhere” machines, or TYME for short. They even had a cool tagline, “TYME is Money,” which is, yes, a little corny.

In Iowa, an ATM can be referred to as a Shazam. Just be careful you don’t turn into superhero.

Odds & Sods

This comes with the Michael Canter Seal of Approval. Right on, man.

MLB News & Notes

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has opened the door for professional sports to return to the state starting May 15.

Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer declared that no sports will be played any time soon there, saying “with all certainty’’ that the county’s stay-at-home order will be extended for three months.

Nationals outfielder Adam Eaton says that it will take players more time than most think to get ready to reboot the 2020 season.

The Mets may have some interest in Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto.

Scott Boras was a failed second base prospect in the Cardinals system before he became baseball’s most powerful agent.

If you are wondering how good Mike Trout would be if he played in the KBO, ESPN’s Dan Szymborski has the numbers.

The Mariners franchise will be cutting staff salaries to avoid temporarily laying anybody off.

Extra Innings

I wonder how Mark Teixeira would have felt if he had been asked to give up part of the $180 million the Yankees gave him on an eight-year deal in in 2008. The first baseman/DH played at replacement level or worse during three of those campaigns and really looks like quite the tool here.

They Said It

“Players right now have already agreed to a pay cut. We’re taking pay as the number of games that we play this year. Players understand that we want to get back on the field, and I think that for our country and for all the fans out there, that’s our main goal — is to get back. But we’ve already come to one agreement. We’re excited to see what the proposal is and see what our best solution is moving forward for baseball this year.” – Ian Happ

Wednesday Walk Up Song

Money by Pink Floyd – Jeez, I feel like I just wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal.

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