Thursday, April 9, 2009
The 1994 Baseball Strike was Inevitable
The poor Montreal Expos. They sat with the best record in baseball in 1994 and had a strong case to win the World Series before the MLB canceled the season after the players went on strike. The work stoppage was the worst in professional sports, but baseball is back on track.
In 1994, the owners demanded a salary cap in response to the worsening financial situation in baseball. This was an act to help the small market teams but the players opposed. The strike was a complete mess without a commissioner at the helm.
The salary cap undoubtedly would help the small market teams out. But, with the recent past it is not necessary. The Tampa Bay Rays came out of last place to go to the World Series before being tripped up against the Philadelphia Phillies last season. They overcame the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees to win the division. The Yankees and Red Sox are two of the high rollers in the league.
Revenue-sharing would not be fair to the players who would have decreased salaries. There would be no chance of Alex Rodriguez or CC Sabathia's massive salaries.
Major League Baseball leader Donald Fehr believed that the salary cap was a way to help the owner's problems but there would be little benefits to the players side.
The tension between the owners and players continued to heat up before the players union ultimately decided to strike.
Small market teams are losing out on the big name free agents, but they are drafting the better players. Big name players want to go to the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, Braves and so on because they have the most exposure around the country and usually can give them the best contract. That doesn't mean to say that the small market teams cannot compete for some free agents.
The Rays and Milwaukee Brewers are prime examples of using the draft as their means of competing. Almost the entire starting lineup for the Brewers are all of their draft picks in the past few years.
As a life long Brewers fan it is frustrating to see that the New York Yankees signed Sabathia to a 161 million dollar contract. Also during the off-season, they signed Mark Teixeira and A.J. Burnett to big deals. Oh and they already had the highest payroll in the league. A-Rod alone is almost making more money than the Florida Marlins roster. But, the highest payroll doesn't always mean that team will go to the playoffs or win the World Series, the Yankees are a prime example the last few seasons. Despite the discrepancy in pay for the Marlins, they still made a push to make the playoffs.
It is hard to talk about the MLB being in bad shape anymore as long as small market teams are still competing. Seems that players are getting offered larger contracts by the year so there are no complaints on the players side. The strike affected Major League Baseball for awhile, but it is all in the past now. Baseball is back.