Pitchers and catchers already reported for spring training, and it won’t be long until positional players show up, even though some players have decided to show up early than expected.
Yet, 100 or more free agents have not been signed this offseason. They are looking for work, most notably Manny Machado, Bryce Harper, Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel.
Already, baseball players are speaking out about this situation by ripping the owners for not wanting to spend and win. They are already creating awareness about owners probably colluding, and it goes back to last season.
If the baseball players thought fans would be empathetic to their colleagues’ flight, they should think again. Fans have been ripping them for being greedy on social media.
It’s hard for them to be sympathetic when Harper rejected a 10-year, $300 million deal by the Washington Nationals. It’s hard for them to care when Machado has not been receptive to an eight-year deal that the Chicago White Sox were offering.
Fans are not going to care about the plight of baseball players out of work when they are struggling to make ends meet. A fan can’t afford to take a family of four to the games frequently, so if baseball players thought they would resonate their situation with the fans, either they lack awareness or they were kidding themselves.
Fans are also smart enough to know the players are being disingenuous when they say baseball owners are not interested in winning for the fans by not signing them. They know players just want the money and work that comes with it.
The players should be commended to support their own in a time like this. After all, it’s a special group of fraternity.
Here’s what the fans really want care: the players and their team entertain when they watch them. They look at players as nothing more than employees of a team that serve in their own best interest for three or four hours of their own time from work.
If it appears fans are supporting the owners, that’s not exactly the case, either. Mets fans have been on the Wilpons’ case for not extending Jacob deGrom yet and for not getting Harper or Machado to increase their chances of making the playoffs. Yankees fans are not happy that Hal Steinbrenner is not like his father when it comes to doing whatever it takes to win a championship such as spending the extra money to get Harper or Machado.
There are fans that root for small market teams that wonder what their teams are doing.
It’s just that fans don’t want to hear about the business of sport. They watch the games for civic pride and for entertainment. They want to talk about the games with others, and they want to have a great time for the three hours that they have open in their schedule. This shouldn’t be their problem.
Put it this way. It’s hard to believe players would care about a fan’s plight at his or her own job, so why should a fan care if a player is out of a job or not?
From a fan’s perspective, a baseball player is finding out what the real world really is. This pleases them to no end because pro athletes are in a different world from theirs. They are set for life with money while no one can say the same about the average fan.
For a fan, that’s the way it goes in sports.
It does seem strange that there is no use for players that are still in their 30s. It’s not like they are finished altogether. They can still contribute. The problem is most general managers that subscribe to analytics believe teams shouldn’t be paying guys or even taking guys that are in their 30s since they have no value. In other words, it has become a young man’s game.
That does not make sense because there have been players in their 30s that have played good enough to contribute for the teams for a long time. This is a classic case of sabermetric general managers reinventing the game.
In this way, this is where anyone can sympathize with those types of players that need work.
Machado and Harper garner no sympathy for overplaying their hand. They wanted to engage in a bidding war with other teams, and they wanted the Yankees to make them an offer. It didn’t happen, and now, they may have to settle for a one-year deal and try this exercise again next offseason.
There are fans that are rooting for both players to not get work this year. This is how bad it is.
The players union has made no secret about going on a strike once the collective bargaining agreement ends based on the way the players have been treated.
This won’t make the fans support the players’ plight for sure.