At Day 39, the MLB Lockout is now the longest in history; it's time for the tabloids to declare a back page moratorium
We now stand 39 days into the longest lockout in baseball history. (The previous record, 32 days, came in 1990.) Nothing is happening. No talks. No updates. No urgency. Not only are the two sides not talking, they are not talking about not talking. To pick up the phone would merely show weakness, and both sides have big war chests, dangling from their groins. One thing we know about money: It makes you an authority on everything.
More than a month into Major League Baseball's lockout, well aware that the league and players haven't had a single substantive negotiating session since the work stoppage began and that spring training is fast approaching without an iota of progress toward a new collective bargaining agreement, a longtime baseball man very calmly said into his phone earlier this week, "What the f--- are we doing?"
(Note: The "f----" does not stand for "falderal.")
Thirty-nine days, shot to f----. Nothing accomplished. No movement.
In five weeks, major league camps are supposed to open.
Here's a good bet: Nothing will happen until the deadlines start crashing. Yes, it takes two to tango. But brinksmanship has been Rob Manfred's signature move since becoming MLB commissioner. With the backing of birthright billionaires, he'll wait until the last moment, applying pressure via money, because their war chest is bigger.
The two sides are said to be light years apart on money issues - which is all that matters. On the day their old agreement ended, the meeting lasted seven minutes. I can't even drink a coffee in seven minutes.
The longer this goes, the more basic operations pile up. The Rule 5 draft. Obtaining visas for foreign players. Free agent signings. Trades. Mets stealing our coaches. Everything.
More and more, we should expect a shortened season and a delayed opening day. Meanwhile, baseball grows increasingly irrelevant.
The tabloid back pages have discovered the Knicks and Nets. I propose a national campaign for the Post and Daily News to deny the Yankees and the Mets any back pages until this lockout ends. They can write their stories, but neither baseball team should receive the free ink of a cover page.
The national pastime is being fundamentally damaged, and the big fools just keep twiddling their thumbs.