In the wake of another proposal from the Major League Baseball owners to the MLB Players’ Association, Frank Cusumano of Hollywood Casino Pressbox on 590 The Fan conducted an interview with Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt, Jr. on the subject. MLB Trade Rumors outlines some of the highlights of the interview, which can be heard in full here at 590thefan.com. Here are some cliff notes to get you started:
- DeWitt believes there will be a season in 2020
- DeWitt states the owners want the season to be as long as possible, but the season will be shorter (than the half season players are wanting), understanding that if the season is shorter, the players will receive full pay, but less money overall; the players are likely to agree because they want to be paid
- DeWitt claims that the industry isn’t very profitable and that revenues go back into the team into things like analytics, training, and promotions
So, yikes. I do not think we really need to unpack a lot of this because we all kind of know the deal. One could maybe make an argument that baseball as a industry — in the extremely technical sense of the word — is not very profitable — in the very technical sense of the word, but... come on. The Cardinals organization is now worth around $2.2 billion — that Billion with a B! That is a quite a bit of growth since DeWitt purchased the team in 1995 at $150 million. To the average baseball fan just wanting to see some dang games, it is a pretty infuriating and tone deaf claim, to be blunt.
As far as owners go, the DeWitts seem to be pretty good. They are, as far as I can tell, baseball people that want to win games (though some may not agree and that is fair), and are one of only a handful of teams that have committed to paying their employees through June. With that being said, these comments are pretty weak and a little insulting, to be quite honest. If sympathy from fans — some of which have recently encountered actual financial struggle during this difficult time — is what the owners are after, comments like these are certainly not going to garner it.
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