Scott Boras explains baseball’s current financial impasse

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Sports fans want to watch sports. They don’t want to hear about fights over whether sports will happen.

But sometimes fans need to try to understand what’s happening, especially since the issues that baseball currently is confronting eventually could arise in football. And the issues that baseball currently is confronting are fairly simple.

Superagent Scott Boras explained the situation in a Thursday appearance on WFAN. As Boras explains it, the owners and players already have reached a deal for prorated pay based on games actually played. The owners are now trying to redo that deal in a way that splits 2020 revenues, which will be reduced by the absence of fans, on a 50-50 basis between teams and players.

“[I]f you alter the foundation the integrity would be compromised and that’s what players would object to,” Boras said.

In other words, there’s a deal in place. And if the players wanted to undo a deal that already was done, the owners would be saying, “Tough crap.”

Regardless of whether baseball’s teams and players had a deal that the owners are now trying to change, there’s a different issue at play here, one that is far more complicated and nuanced that meets the eye when suggesting that the owners and players should simply break the 2020 cookie in half and share it.

This approach ignores the extent to which past cookies were shared, when the cookie was much larger. It also ignores that the teams own the bakery, and that bakery continues to increase in value — with the players holding no equity.

Said Boras: “You don’t privatize the gains and socialize the losses.” It’s really that simple.

Baseball’s owners want to seize on unprecedented circumstances to subsidize the short-term losses by spreading them evenly to the players, while ignoring that, over the long haul, the owners are well ahead of the game, both as to annual profits and as to the value of the asset they own.

It’s an important point, because the NFL could try to do the same thing, whether by slicing player salaries or shrinking the salary cap or otherwise foisting short-term losses onto players, hopeful that the pied-piper media charlatans, many of whom don’t believe what they’re saying and are simply pandering and/or acting in their own self interests, will characterize players as greedy and unreasonable when players take a stand based on their rights, without ever pointing to the owners and saying, “Hey, you’ve made billions over the years, and you’re worth billions. Why should the players equally share in unexpected short-term losses, when the contract you’ve signed doesn’t require them to?”

13 responses to “Scott Boras explains baseball’s current financial impasse

  1. Consider the source. Boras represents players. Billionaires versus millionaires. There are fewer billionaires, but they create the jobs and take the risks. The players are grossly overpaid and they are the sole reason games can no longer be attended bu families. I have ZERO sympathy for the players. I hope the owners take this as an opportunity to break the union, install a salary cap and create a level playing field for all teams. Let’s see all thes players take their talents to other baseball leagues.

  2. Strange! The Government is doing the same thing to us, it’s citizens. Privatizing their gains and socializing their losses. Not one Government employee or politician has lost a dime or sacrificed pay, bennies, pensions or healthcare. Not one!

  3. Not a problem MLB players, they’ll just cancel the season so you don’t get paid. Really, if baseball disappeared life would still go on.

  4. Now I hope the season is a loss so no one gets paid. Greed will come backt to bite ya every time.

  5. The chance of the MLB owners breaking the union is slim and none. First of all, they have an agreement. It is the owners who are asking the players for a favor. Can you imagine what the owners would say if the players were the ones asking?

  6. Seems to me, when you are a business owner that you trap the rewards in good times and suck up the risk/loss in bad times. They have obviously reaped the rewards. Time to give back, if it is even safe to do so. I’m not shedding ters for the millionaire players, but the billionaire owners? Really? Maybe just give back for a year or two to the fans you have gouged. I don’t think it will break you. In fact, a little humanity might engender some goodwill and gain you some lifelong fans.

  7. If the owners won’t make any money out of the current deal, just shutdown for the season. If they do still make money, $1 profit is better than no profit.

    If there is basketball and then football, nobody will watch baseball anyhow.

  8. The reason the MLBPA is so much stronger than the NFLPA is players have MUCH longer careers. I am more willing to strinke if I miss one out of 10 years. I am far less willing to strike if I miss one out of four or five years.

    The MLB players want to be paid based on 100% attendance. With 0 attendance, or reduced attendance, the revenue split is no longer 50-50, its 60-40 in favor of the players. The owners should say no. Then both sides are equally hurt, and revenue may be down the following year or two. It’s not the players who have leverage, its both sides. The owners have to bite the bullet and not have a 2020 otherwise the players will make more demands.

    At least some players will want to play, I’d rather get paid 90% of my full salary for any games I play than 0.

  9. Mr. Mike, you are correct, the players don’t have any equity. However, when they get hurt, suspended, or for any other reason don’t play they still get paid. The owners absorb the loss when their players aren’t able to play for those reasons or don’t play to potential and games are lost.

    Harper last year had an off year, however he still made his big salary.

    However, when games aren’t played at all, so no revenue is brought in, the players shouldn’t be getting paid for that which they did not earn.

  10. Said Boras: “You don’t privatize the gains and socialize the losses.” It’s really that simple.

    That would be corporate welfare.

  11. margoadams says:
    May 14, 2020 at 7:24 pm
    Strange! The Government is doing the same thing to us, it’s citizens. Privatizing their gains and socializing their losses. Not one Government employee or politician has lost a dime or sacrificed pay, bennies, pensions or healthcare. Not one!


    As a government employee (military), I can tell you that I’m working as many (or more) hours than I was before coronavirus hit. Government employees aren’t the problem. The problem is that the politicians are using taxpayer money to bail out corporations instead of protecting the taxpayers. Privatizing the gains, and socializing the losses.

  12. One thing you can guarantee is that the players will whine about anything and everything. I have zero sympathy for the players. You have guys signing HUGE contracts then mailing it in. Guess what, they still get paid no matter what. Life goes on without baseball. I hope they just cancel the season. Maybe that will make the players happy. Life will go on without baseball. The players are so greedy and some of them act like spoiled brats. It gets old.

    I’d like to see a neutral third-party work on this and make a decision. If the players do get 60-40 when there are fans in and the money is reduced so the ratio is out of whack then there should be a compromise. When the shoe was on the other foot the players demanded more, hence the current 60-40 split. However, the greedy players want everything.

    I’m sick of MLB. I haven’t watched since they had the strike that wiped out the World Series. I’m so sick of the players whining about anything and everything, especially in these times of the dire financial situations so many people are faced with. If the baseball players expect sympathy they are clueless.

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