Still got nothin’
Tonight is Game 6 of the World Series, which only matters to us at this point as a milestone from the offseason to the off-offseason (or is that that off-off-offseason?). There’ll be some news about minor-league free agents… if there are any left that weren’t released in late May.
And then… I don’t know.
Last year – I almost wrote “last offseason,” but let’s face it: We’re still in it – was the first in which the AFL had been moved up, which messed with the usual rhythm and flow of the offseason as we covered it here from 2010 to 2018. Compounding that was the contraction bomb dropped last October with the reveal of the “hit list” last November.
We’re still waiting for that shoe to drop, though MLB has been clearing room on the floor (and laying down a tarp) by lining up the surviving independent leagues and making them dependent, a not-so-subtle move that will further limit the options of the existing entities formerly known as affiliates (and henceforth known as franchisees, though I’m sure they’ll come up with some sort of euphemism).
As noted in the comments, there are some signs of what’s to come, though, in my opinion, it’s less signal than noise. When I was in J-school, we had some philosophical debates about how rumor will fill any vacuum of news. It’s no longer an academic exercise: We have 24-hour cable news to hammer this point home like Thor on Adderall.
Finally, we have to take two steps back and note that Herr Manfred is prepping the hoi polloi for massive payroll reduction by claiming massive debt and huge losses that combined ($11.3B), just happen to be one billion more than last year’s reported $10.3B revenues. Pay no attention to the revenue records set every year from 2003 to 2018, the hundreds of millions in public subsidies, and the trillions of dollars in value generated by the antitrust exemption.
Consequently, MLB teams have been laying off employees in droves – many of which are in scouting and almost all have salaries in the five-figure range. As we’ve been saying all
season year long, the pandemic has merely accelerated the timeline for what they planned to do all along: cut costs to maximize profits over the short term and to hell with how this affects the game (or people) long term.
Well, maybe I do have somethin’… but I think we all have some anger and anxiety these days.