January 20th 2012 and I’m sitting in my office doing what I normally do every January, look out at dreary weather and desperately long for Spring Training to begin. Being from St. Louis, this upcoming season without Albert Pujos is fraught with anxiety and I am angry at the system of free agency.
Someone once said “To not know your history, is to repeat it,” or something to that effect, so a quick look back at baseball history is required before intelligent debate can commence on seth levinson agent free agency.
Until recent times, baseball players were literally “serfs” of the baseball team and the owner. The team could pay the player whatever it deemed appropriate, which I’m sure did not match the player’s idea of appropriate, and there was No recourse for the player, as it was a take it or leave it situation, because players were not allowed to go to another team unless traded by their team. In other words, the team’s owner(s) had complete control over a player’s life.
Ironically, it was a St. Louis Cardinal player, Curt Flood, all-star centerfielder, who single handily brought down Baseball’s total control of a player’s salary and who he played for through the court system, which created the “Free Agency” system.
The way I see this history lesson is Greed, on the part of baseball’s team owners forced free agency. Arrogance, greed and the miscalculation of one man’s courage and resolve kept the owners from discussing a compromise which may have appeased everyone, instead of resulting in another form of system being crammed down their throats.
When we fast forward from the 1960’s to present day the preverbal pendulum has swung to the other end of the spectrum and the Players, at least so called stars, have the baseball owners by the throat and are in complete control.
Unfortunately, the players have proven themselves to be no better men, of conscious or loyalty, than the owners. Greed has infiltrated every aspect of a player’s contract demand and any consideration for the fan is totally disregarded.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been a Union man, a civil rights activist who has spent his life promoting Social Justice, a fearless fighter for the underdog, but I also call it like I see it. Players are corrupted with Greed. If it appears I’m a bit upset, well… I’m more than upset. I’m damn mad.
It’s not just the fact Nobody in the world, sports figure, corporate bozo or politician is worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year, it’s the very public pronunciation “It’s All About Me.”