Strange Sound of Silence

The Strange Sound of Silence….Seldom is it completely silent around us. It’s very strange when it DOES happen. So too….in the sports world. The Strange Sound of Silence is being heard in MLB talks.
…1st of all each of these groups, MLB owners & MLB players operate in a different worlds then we do. With their wealth, the MLB owners are completely silent with respect to the daily concerns of most Americans. Kudos to them for accumulating huge sums of money. 23 of the 30 owners are valued at over $1,000,000,000 (1 Billion dollars). To give you another perspective…if you spent $1/day, it would take you 2,739 YEARS to empty your $1B wallet. Basically, these men/women may do whatever they wish, anytime they wish. That’s just the way it is.
….The MLB players have athletic skills—tremendous eye/hand coordination, strength, agility, yada—yada-yada. They have probably spent most of their lives honing their skills. Meanwhile, while the average salary is $4.17m, the median salary (middle amount)is probably a better yardstick in this case is at a $1.1m level. But, they hear the strange sound of silence when it comes to changes in negotiations with MLB.
….It’s very easy to see why each group has a hard time at compromising. Neither side hears that strange sound of silence often…if at all. In these labor negotiations, compromising is essential in reaching an agreement. But, compromising isn’t a part of most of their lives at this point so they are struggling to make progress.
…It doesn’t HAVE to be that way! Up through ’94 there had been 8 successive negotiations in which there had been a work stoppage, several lockouts, a number of strikes — the long one in 1981. Owner Bud Selig broke the Loud Tone of silence by true negotiations—something for each side. Ultimately, he became the commissioner because of his work with the union & owners. We need…badly need.. another Bud Selig to emerge to break this Loud Tone of Silence.
…Some, but not enough, realize that if the lockout stretches into the regular season that fans will be Lost…some forever! Their strange silence at the ballparks will hurt both sides seriously.
…Getting lost in the strange sound of silence in the talks is the REAL issues facing baseball—1) its pace & length of the games. I’ve made several suggestions in the past—my loudest point currently is to utilize split screens showing advertising, other scores around the league for 3 or 5 min & have just 1 min between innings. 2) MLB must initiate programs to promote interest & participation by youngsters in baseball. I never see kids playing ball on their own in the summer time. Playing fuzz ball, Indian ball, games with softballs or tennis balls instead of baseballs. Years ago (before Air conditioning) kids just “made up” games that were versions of baseball. Of course, some might say that they don’t see kids playing ANY sports w/o supervision. Unfortunately, the players/owners don’t seem to be able to see that “down the road” these kids will be the adults.
…1 of the key issues is revenue sharing. Currently, Teams presently contribute 48 percent of all local revenues, including gate receipts, local TV revenue, concessions, parking, sponsorships, etc, to the revenue sharing funds. The funds are then divided equally among all 30 teams. Hence, the weaker teams (with less income) get a bump in their income from the revenue sharing plan. The idea was to spur those teams into spending on free agency. It has NOT worked out that way. Some form of revenue sharing is probably necessary since the KC’s, Miami, Tampa Bay’s of the world will NEVER raise the same level of funds as the Dodgers, Yanks, Cubs, etc. But…will they spend it on players or player development? I doubt it…it’ll be..take the money
….Here’s an idea..maybe we could end the strange sound of silence by adjusting the revenue sharing. Use the following scale for sharing gate receipts only: Teams in the 5 smallest markets keep 90% of gate receipts; next 5 smallest markets-keep 80 %; the 16-20th keep 70%’’ 11th-15th markets- keep 60%; top 10 largest keep 50%.
… Trying not to go too deep into the weeds here…. With this current revenue sharing plan, some say that it really doesn’t pay to win in the MLB. Increasing payroll… trying to win by heavy spending… usually only increases the gate receipts/concessions (which make up about 1/3 of most teams revenue). With 48 percent of all local revenues going into the revenue sharing pool, that leads us to about 17% (48% of 1/3) of a club’s revenue increasing marginally by having a winning team. What this REALLY means is that, if a club is motivated to make money, spending on high priced free-agent players does not sync with that objective. Sooo.. developing your own players at YOUR pace with an occasional “star” signing IS the real way to win AND make real money (current Cardinal method).
….MLBPA strongly opposes the current “tanking” option being employed by teams who refuse to spend money to compete. Maybe its due to the numbers in the previous paragraph. I strongly agree that too many teams currently are unable or unwilling to “TRY” to compete regularly.Cincy tried last year but apparently ran out of money at the trading deadline. Revenue sharing was intended to help those teams spend to improve their team but that hasn’t developed in that way at all.
…The manipulation of service time by almost all teams needs to be addressed. Often, this approach is a really abused by management. Currently, if the player plays in just 15 number of days (games), it’s considered a full year towards service time. That means if you miss just 14 games, it isn’t registered as a full year of “service” towards free agency. Just ask Kris Bryant as the Cubs did this exact move to him in his first year. Hence his free agency came after 7 not 6 years! A player should reach the “service” time either by days on roster, by At Bat’s, by innings or by appearances.
…There are other issues—treatment of Super 2’s; deterioration of minor league system; getting young kids into the ballpark to watch games; the gigantic growth of gambling promotions, safety @ ballparks, cost of items INSIDE the ballpark. But…all we hear is the Strange Sound of Silence.
….Hope this will help you deal with the Strange Sound of Silence in the MLB-MLBPA spat. But, I don’t want you SILENT! I welcome YOUR thoughts (on my Facebook page-Bob Ryan) or by email. If you’d like to catch up on earlier blogs…go to . Thanks for your time & read! Bob

One thought on “Strange Sound of Silence

  1. Bob,

    I agree that pace of game is a real problem in getting kids engaged as fans. I remember when week night school night games used to start at 8:00 pm. My Dad and I used to take the bus (the Red Bird Express) from our home in South city up to the park at Grand and Dodier. Rarely was the game that ended past 10:30 pm. I used to sleep on the bus and was bright eyed and bushy tailed for school the next day. I regaled my classmates with stories of Gibson’s pitching or Bill White’s homers over the right field pavilion.

    How many kids are willing to stay up for a four hour plus game?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s