We are nearing the end of lockdown. Sports are coming back. The NBA has announced their plan to finish the season. NHL is ready to go too. NFL should be starting close to on time. All great news. MLB, on the other hand, is going out of their way to alienate their fans. As we emerge from our caves, ready to shed boredom and get back to our lives, we crave what we have missed. To that point, MLB thumbs its nose at us.
MLB doesn’t care about its fans. It doesn’t care about its image. As every day progresses without a resolution between the owners and the MLB Players’ Association, we are one more day removed from starting the season.
This is more frustrating than any labor dispute I have experienced in my life thus far. I struggle to read the daily update because I just want to scream at both sides to get over themselves. Americans have suffered under Covid. We didn’t just lose sports, our freedom, and our collective sanity, many Americans lost their jobs. To sit here and watch millionaire players squabble with billionaire owners over pay cuts is sickening to the average Joe. Many baseball fans were either furloughed or outright lost their jobs, and these two sides are so tone deaf that they don’t see the bad optics of this dispute.
What MLB (both players and owners) needs is a reality check. A real reality check. The players play the best game in the world for a living. The owners are rich beyond the average fan’s dreams. Players and owners live in a completely different world than the fans. I have come to the conclusion that both sides need to learn what real life is.
What is real life? Real life is what I was referencing before: waking up one day to learn you don’t have a job and everything about the future is uncertain.
It’s time to start contracting MLB teams.
If the economic structure is so dire that these owners are barely squeaking by, barely making a profit, and can’t afford to pay their players (which I don’t believe but that’s another column for another day), then it’s time to start closing up shop.
Do you know what happens to businesses that can’t afford to weather the Covid storm? They close down. Why should MLB be any different?
It certainly wouldn’t hurt the players to wake up and realize they are out of jobs too. You don’t want to take a small salary cut when so many people in America are losing their jobs and not making any salary?? Do you want me to say “Poor babies, pay these poor millionaires who play the best game in the world for a living?”
Owners and players have put themselves in this situation, so let’s contract one team from each division. Who do we contract?
I think eliminating one team from each division is fair. Teams can certainly be brought back if the economic situation improves. These teams aren’t being banned for life. We’re simply downsizing because that’s how the real world works and a reality check is in order for the jackwagons on both sides.
For the record, I realize this will most likely never happen. But I am so sick of the bickering between the two sides that I really enjoy the thought of greedy owners being stripped of their teams and crybaby players losing their jobs like so many normal Americans have.
There are three choices for contraction in the AL East. The Toronto Blue Jays, the Tampa Bay Rays, and the Baltimore Orioles.
Toronto seems to be putting together a decent core of players and have invested in their franchise over the past few years. They are the least likely candidate for contraction. That leaves the Orioles and the Rays.
The Orioles certainly deserve to be contracted. They have been a bottom feeder in the AL East for the past 20 years. They managed to make a couple of playoff appearances, but haven’t come close to a World Series. The Orioles are not a well run organization at all, They’ve been unable to retain their best players, and the players they have retained probably should have been sent packing. Here’s looking at you, Chris Davis. They are an ideal candidate for contraction….until you look at the Tampa Bay Rays.
Tampa has done a good job at developing players, but they struggle to retain those players. They refuse to spend money in free agency and always have one of the lowest payrolls in MLB. The real kicker here is that damn Tropicana Field. I hate that trashpit. How many games have been affected by balls that are in play bouncing off those catwalks. Objectively, it is the worst stadium in all of MLB. Subjectively, it still manages to be the worst stadium in all of MLB. If you gave me a choice to either tear down Fenway or Tropicana Field, I’m choosing Tropicana Field. If you don’t understand the significance of that statement, you don’t deserve to be reading my opinions. So long Tropicana field, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
AL East Contracted Team – Tampa Bay Rays
The AL Central is another division with three candidates for contraction. The Minnesota Twins, the Kansas City Royals, and Cleveland Indians.
I remember the Twins being mentioned back in the late 90s to early 00s when contraction came up, which was fair considering their lack of success in the previous seasons. Since then, the Twins have actually been a decent organization. They have made shrewd free agent signings, often picking up guys who outperform their contracts. They actually spend more in salary than most people realize and have done a good job at retaining homegrown players. This has resulted in the Twins making the playoffs fairly regularly. However, they haven’t found any playoff success during those postseason appearances. Target Field is an open air stadium in Minnesota, which is one of the dumbest architectural decisions ever made in that state. Speaking of dumb decisions, we also have to address current affairs. I would guess most players would be totally okay no longer playing in the Twin Cities and I can’t imagine they’ll be drawing a lot of out of town fans any time soon either.
The Royals are definitely contraction material. Yes, they recently appeared in two World Series, even winning one. Outside of those years, they haven’t been a very good team since the 1980s. They are the epitome of a small market team. They probably shouldn’t even exist anyway. Why did anyone think it was a good idea to put another team in Kansas City after Charlie Finley and the Athletics booked it out of town for the greener, more lucrative pastures of Oakland?
Finally, we have the Cleveland Indians. The team that has to go. Haven’t won a World Series since 1948. One of the cheapest organizations in baseball. Not only do they not retain their homegrown players, most times they don’t even try to. Not only is there no loyalty to the players, there isn’t much loyalty to the fans. At the start of the Covid-19 crisis, they were demanding payment on season tickets. They were such a joke for such a long time that the best baseball movie of all time, Major League, was scripted as a testament to their futility. Cleveland gets the axe in this scenario with the added bonus that it makes Major League even better because the team gets contracted 30 years after the movie comes out for being such a poorly run organization.
AL Central Contracted Team – Cleveland Indians
I absolutely detest the Houston Astros and that 3 straight World Series were stolen from the Yankees because of their elaborate cheating scams. However, there is one team and one team only that stands above every other team in this division as a team practically begging for contraction. The answer is so obvious that I don’t even need to make an argument for it, because no one could possibly disagree.
AL West Contracted Team – Oakland A’s
I don’t care all that much about the NL West or National League baseball in general. I’m going to go with the Arizona Diamondbacks on this one.
The Giants and Dodgers are both big market teams, neither of which deserves to get cut.
The Padres probably would have been the team to get the axe, but they have been on a bit of a spending spree in free agency the past few years and ownership really seems to want to win now. Therefore, the Padres get a pass.
Denver is one of the coolest cities in the country and probably draws a lot of out of town fans. That’s my entire case to keep the Rockies.
Personal grudges against the Diamondbacks aside, they still deserve to go. Not only have they not made any playoff noise since that personal grudge started, but the morning of writing this, ownership made a statement about players needing to accept a salary cap. That fool is unnecessarily publicly throwing gas on an already brewing upcoming labor dispute.
NL West Contracted Team – Arizona Diamondbacks
This decision is actually pretty sad because it comes down to two of the oldest franchises in baseball, the Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Both teams have had minimal success since the early 90s. Both teams are in small markets and are run like they are in small markets, with little money being spent in free agency or their developmental system. Pittsburgh does have two things that Cincinnati doesn’t though … other sports teams that win. The Pirates are the third team in a small city, fourth if you include Pitt. Cincinnati has the Bengals.
NL Central Contracted Team – Pittsburgh Pirates
I know what you are thinking, but you are wrong. No, the Miami Marlins are not going to be contracted. I truly believe their new ownership group is really trying to build a core developmental program down there. I am giving the Miami Marlins a pass because of Derek Jeter. I fully believe that Derek Jeter is trying to put together a winning franchise in Miami. He had to break down the roster in order to build it back up. Derek Jeter has earned the right to more time to prove the system he is implementing will work. Only 5 players in MLB history have had more hits than Derek Jeter. He’s earned the right to let the system he is building play out.
Therefore we are left with a clear choice for contraction in the NL East, the New York Mets. Is this a biased opinion of a Yankees fan? No. This is a well informed decision by a Yankees fan.
The one and only redeeming argument that can be made to save the Mets would be their fanbase. The Mets have an incredibly loyal and die hard fanbase. The Wilpons have done everything they can to rip out the hearts of Mets fans while destroying their souls. Despite every PR nightmare … and there have been a lot … Mets fans have stayed loyal. To that, I tip my hat. But the praise ends there.
I could make this entire argument to contract the Mets about Jeff Wilpon. Jeff Wilpon is so difficult (stupid) to work with that his Daddy is being forced into selling the team by their partners because NO ONE wants to work with Jeff. The team is already up for sale because of inept ownership. This is the same family that got swindled by Bernie Madoff and, despite owning a Major League Baseball team in New York with a loyal and dedicated fanbase AND their own cable company they are still claiming that they can’t spend money on the team because they are trying to recoup their losses. All these years later. Which includes a World Series appearance as well as having some of the most dominant starting pitching in MLB. They are still broke. Shut up, Jeff. I’m a Yankees fan and I hate your guts. The only team Jeff Wilpon is qualified to own would be the Red Sox.
I could make this whole argument about Jeff Wilpon but where is the fun in that? The Mets have been a laughingstock for years. They have bungled can’t-miss prospect after can’t-miss prospect. Remember when they tried to teach the blazing fast Jose Reyes a new way to run and he hurt himself? Remember Generation K? Remember the Dark Knight Matt Harvey?
I’ve never seen a team with more PR disasters than the Mets. They fired Carlos Beltran as a manager before he even managed a game for a cheating scandal they didn’t benefit from at all because it happened on another team. It’s just another bad look from a team that makes bad decisions all the time.
I’m not saying the Mets can’t come back to MLB. But if we are eliminating one team from each division, they have really earned the right to be the team that goes.
NL East Contracted Team – New York Mets