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Gregg Doyel: Having it both way with unions

Aug 18, 2010, 1:30 PM EDT

I promise you that I’m not obsessed with Gregg Doyel. I just can’t seem to let this one go.

You’ll recall this morning that Doyel stuck it to the player’s union and talked about how he wanted the Mets to crush them in the course of this Francisco Rodriguez business. The union is too powerful, Doyel thinks. It’s the tail wagging the dog. It has given millionaire players so much power that even the normal rules of supply and demand don’t apply to baseball anymore!

However, reader Steve A. alerts me to something Doyel wrote about Darrelle Revis’ holdout from the New York Jets last week that sort of messes with his anti-union narrative:

My problem is with an NFL system that leaves so many of its
players crippled, brain-damaged husks — picture an empty locust
shell, clinging to a tree — who lack the money to pay for medical
care as they grow older. So when an NFL player gets the rare chance to call his shot, I’m all for it — and Revis is Babe Ruth.

Know what would fix that system and make NFL players’ lives better? A stronger union.

And yes, I appreciate that there is a difference between a union achieving basic humane working conditions and one seeking increasingly esoteric benefits for its members. Unions can overreach and have in the past, to the point where they have harmed their members’ long term interests.

But I don’t think that can be said of the MLBPA. And I don’t think you can expect a union membership who can look to the other sports and see how crappy the players have things, relatively speaking, to stop fighting for whatever they can get from an ownership that, if they could, would treat them like chattels.

  1. RichardInBigD - Aug 18, 2010 at 1:53 PM

    Anyone who needs to see a bright shining example of what Craig is talking about here need look no further than Detroit. Through the late 60’s and into the early 70’s, the UAW served an important role in seeing to it that factory workers were not taken advantage of. In 1980, I knew a guy making $28 an hour to out the same 6 screws into the headlight assembly of every car that god to his station. Double that for overtime, triple on Sundays and holidays. And 90% of that if he was off work due to layoff or strike. I’d take that deal today, but that was 30 years ago! Kind of like paying your number 4 starter $4million a year. And look what Detroit became.

  2. BCTF - Aug 18, 2010 at 2:03 PM

    And they have to make all of that money to pay the union dues (hired goons aren’t cheap) and pay the outrageous health insurance premiums that they are forced into buying because the guy in charge of picking the health insurance has 12 kids and smokes two packs a day and got a huge kick back for picking this insurance.

  3. El Bravo - Aug 18, 2010 at 2:04 PM

    …a beautiful and shining metropolis that sets an example of urban perfectionism to the rest of the world?

  4. mike wants wins - Aug 18, 2010 at 2:10 PM

    What? You are comparing protecting members’ health with protecting the right of someone that beat the carp out of another person, in front of children, for no reason? The point Doyle was making was that the MLBPA has lost perspective, and is all about power, not about doing right by it’s members.

  5. Trevor B - Aug 18, 2010 at 2:34 PM

    Really, this isn’t even a Union thing. This is just that everybody is greedy.
    The owners are greedy, they want to pay players less, charge for for tickets and food and beer (minus Nolan Ryan), they want more for advertising with the team and to pay less for advertising the team.
    The players are greedy, and because athletes have that drive to be the best and always think they’re damn good (lets face it, if they don’t believe in theirself they’ve lost their drive) they want to be well paid for that, too.
    The player’s agents are greedy. They only get X% of what they get the players so they want to make sure the owners know just what a steep price they have to pay for their guy to play on their team, even if he isn’t Pujols or A-Rod… but his guy is 90% of A-Rod so he deserves 90% of what A-Rod makes!
    The ballpark workers are greedy, they have their own workers union to ensure that they get paid with benefits for cleaning the toilets, sweeping the floors, picking up the trash, serving you your over-priced beer (if not in Texas in Nolan-land), etc.
    The companies who provide us with our baseball goodies are greedy. They want to squeeze every damn dime they can selling you that beer, that brat, that insurance you see advertised (they have to pay all that coin to advertise there somehow).
    Finally, we as baseball fans are greedy. We don’t like all that expensive crap that was made expensive by 1000 people’s greed so therefore we whine about it while watching ESPN and reading Craig’s blog.
    Which makes Craig greedy, so he writes a lot of posts for us to read. :-)

  6. RichardInBigD - Aug 18, 2010 at 2:50 PM

    OK, listen. I grew up in a union house. I understand that in a lot af areas, they were sorely needed to make sure that the same folks that BUILT this great land of ours, didn’t become it’s downtrodden. And they did that. For the most part. Many of the more successful unions, however, got just a little bit too powerful, and liked it a little too much, and got a little too carried away with themselves. They decided that having a good, steady job, with a financially sound company, and being treated well by the powers that be (even if it WAS forced by the union) wasn’t good enough any more. The guy that swept the floors wanted to live in the same neighborhood as his boss’ boss. And the unions threatened to wreck the business by shutting it down if they didn’t make sure he could. The bosses capitulated, gave in to their demands so as to keep things running, and in the process, tipped the financial balance a little too far in the other direction. The money had to come from somewhere, so the first thing to go was research and development. Then quality control. Then the Japanese started building a better product than we were, cheaper. Consumers got wise, and started buying the better, cheaper products, even though it might mean that their neighbor would lose hs job. Now instead of the owners getting too big a piece of the pie, there was not so much pie left.
    That’s a very simplified account of what happened to Detroit. Change a few words, and it’s also an account of what’s happening to baseball. I can only hope that we can be smart enough to avoid putting Pintos and Vegas on the field.

  7. Reflex - Aug 18, 2010 at 3:25 PM

    Um, are you ranting against Ichiro?

  8. RichardInBigD - Aug 18, 2010 at 3:31 PM

    Not at all. Don Fehr and friends = UAW and Teamsters. Nothing wrong with the occasional imported part, just dont get the whole damn car from over there…

  9. Trevor B - Aug 18, 2010 at 3:35 PM

    Ah, must use HTML code to make comments post better

    Now I see how this shady comments sections works


  10. JBerardi - Aug 18, 2010 at 5:45 PM

    Yeah, I think that Detroit’s downfall had a little more to do with three decades (at least) of shitty cars, and less to do with working people having things too easy. Call me crazy.

  11. RichardInBigD - Aug 19, 2010 at 11:17 AM

    Yeah. You’re 100% right about the shitty cars. And they became shitty cars for many reasons. First and foremost was the disproportionate funnelling of resources to non-skilled labor, in terms of inflated wages and exaggerated benefits, which came at the expense of product development amd quality control. Half-assed efforts at design improvements caused their product to stagnate, at best, while the rest of the world was building a much better moustrap, and doing it cheaper.

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