“Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.” Michael Douglas portraying financier Gordon Gekko from the movie “Wall Street”
“The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some have wandered away from the faith and have impaled themselves with a lot of pain because they made money their goal.” I Timothy 6:10
Which quote above do you think I might go with here today?
Today’s reflection is not the usual type to which you have become accustomed in this space, so thank you dear reader, for indulging me the opportunity to vent a frustration. In doing so, I confess that I will take a complex issue, and I will reduce it to a simple plea. I will look at Major League Baseball (MLB) as simply a fan. I do not know the complexities of the financial arguments that bind the parties involved- the owners and players. I do know that the greed which clouds the issue for both sides, has an effect beyond the parties who are negotiating. It hurts fans, even casual ones. It also hurts the thousands of people who are employed by all the associated business activity generated by the sport.
At a time when we really need baseball, and MLB desperately needs this particular time to reclaim some fan interest and energy, we witness a contest of wills that will hurt everybody.
Fans have a stake in this as well, yet we do not get to sit at the bargaining table. Fans have invested considerable emotional capital in their teams. Owners count on this loyal support. Fans have provided significant financial support as well, not only in ticket and concession sales, but also in sales of licensed gear, and often in “sweetheart deals” given to baseball owners by city/county governments for stadium construction, as well as tax incentives.
Short-term, greedy thinking by both sides will hurt baseball in the long run. Now, I know that it is easy for me to give away other peoples’ money. But as I said, I am simply thinking like a fan here. I see the game suffer, losing a mountain of potential goodwill which could be gained by getting back on the field as soon as restrictions to sports are lifted.
Since I believe that baseball is a venerated institution in America, the leaders of it have a responsibility to hold it as almost a public trust. The owners, Commissioner and players need to look beyond the short-term financial impact for themselves and consider the longer-term consequences that go beyond their immediate bottom line.
Greed has consequences. People get hurt both financially and emotionally. We have often heard the expression, “Take one for the team”- meaning, sometimes we need to sacrifice ourselves for the good of the team.
I say to players, owners, and the Baseball Commissioner, how about “Taking one for the fans?”