MLB owners: Their intent is quite clear, but not necessarily their motive

Rob Manfred and Tony Clark Hammer It Out (CBS Sports)

MLB owners are not seeking to hide their intentions in the ongoing half-hearted negotiations with the MLBPA. But their motive remains a mystery – why?

MLB owners have one obvious intention as they continue to spin out plan after plan to the players’ union (MLBPA), hoping that sooner or later, one will catch fire with the players, and the 2020 season will get underway.

MLB owners know they will not enjoy record revenues as they did last season when they scooped in $10.7 billion. The coronavirus has corrupted the season, and they get that.

MLB 2020: A Signal For The Times (
MLB 2020: A Signal For The Times (

So, their main goal (or intention) now is to reduce the “hit”, as in losses, by getting the MLBPA to absorb as much of the lost revenues as possible.

The union, and virtually everyone else who is keeping up on things, see through the charade, most recently explored in a story posted yesterday on a “new” offer extended to the players by MLB owners.

But here’s the dilemma in trying to “read” MLB owners. If the intent is clear, why can’t we see through the dust to realize the motive behind their counterproductive actions?

What do the MLB owners expect to gain (in the long run) by jeopardizing an entire season of baseball – or worse – by presenting proposals that delay and water the season down to the point where it has no legitimacy?

A motive to kill, in the criminal courts, is always more challenging to prove than intent to kill.

For instance, when Lee Harvey Oswald pulled the trigger to fire the bullet(s) that struck President Kennedy, it was and is still clear he intended to kill the President of the United States.

But no one has ever definitively established a motive as to why Oswald consummated the act. Theories abound, but just as in the case with MLB owners, no one has a clue, and apparently, they see no reason why they need to enlighten us.

MLB Owners Motives? – Here’s A Couple To Ponder

  • Most Owners Don’t Give A Hoot About Baseball

The majority of major league baseball teams are owned by a businessman who has made their fortune through endeavors far removed from the world of professional sports.

For many, the team they own is just another toy that was purchased for the same reason they bought the yacht, the second home on the other coast, and season tickets to the opera – because they can.

MLB Corona: Look but don't touch (Oregon Live)
MLB Corona: Look but don’t touch (Oregon Live)

For these owners, their motive from season to season is one-dimensional, and that’s to stay afloat.

Hence, their level of prestige among family, friends, and the community also remains afloat.

These MLB owners rarely, if ever, attend games their team plays, and except for one or two players, if they crossed paths in the parking lot with a player, the moment would go unnoticed by both.

They are a cowardly lot who know little about baseball and care less about learning more.

They hire a general manager with the understanding he’d better understand “the buck stops here”, and by that, they mean don’t bother to ask for more money – the answer is no.

You may have an owner like the one described in the city where your team plays. The odds say that you do.

And the same odds suggest these team owners are motivated to thwart any effort(s) to have a 2020 season in which they are guaranteed to lose money.

  • MLB Owners Play With A Marked Deck

Correct me if I’m wrong, but there hasn’t been an owner of a major league team who had lost money when they sold their team.

David Glass - An Example of how money makes money in baseball (NY Times)
David Glass – An Example of how money makes money in baseball (NY Times)

Here’s an example, and it’s not the Yankees, Dodgers, or Cubs where you would expect huge revenues and extraordinary profit upon their sale.

David Glass, Walmart’s former CEO, purchased the Kansas City Royals for $96 million in 2000.

Last year, Kansas City energy magnate John Sherman bought the Royals, a team with four straight .500 or below season, for $1.2 billion – netting Glass more than a billion dollars.

Fred Wilpon, the principal owner of the New York Mets, has one of the streakiest and blatantly dysfunctional legacies as a businessman in New York, is currently fielding offers that start at $1.2 billion.

For these MLB owners, their motive is simple and direct. Ride the wave of Major League Baseball as they continue to print money. You can’t swing and miss because baseball is a legalized Ponzi scheme.

Owners Are Leaving Blood On The Tracks

Discourse and disagreement between MLB owners and players is nothing new in baseball.

What is new this time around is the 24-hour news cycle, Twitter, Facebook, and generally speaking – the internet – which was not up and running during the last baseball work stoppage in 1994.

Dysfunctional Mets Led By The Wilpons (Photo: Twitter)
Dysfunctional Mets Led By The Wilpons (Photo: Twitter)

The irony we see is MLB and the MLBPA exchanging letters (by pony express?) putting forth their latest salvos labeled as proposals, only to find each letter published by The Athletic or the Associated Press.

It’s almost laughable except that the integrity of baseball as a professional sport – and even more significantly – “America’s National Pastime” – is on the line.

Sad to say, this time in these negotiations, it’s the minority of team owners who are quietly, but very effectively, working to sabotage the 2020 MLB season.

What we need, but is not likely to happen, is for the team of “Good Guys” – the Ricketts family in Chicago, the Steinbrenner family in New York, John Henry, owner of the Boston Red Sox, and others to rise to speak the truth.

That is, to tell them that if it isn’t for us and our revenue sharing money that we freely dole out to you every year – you wouldn’t have a pot to piss in as an owner in the baseball business.

If only…

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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.