Players Ask Owners How Much Baseball They Want

Last Tuesday, the Major League Baseball Players Association offered a quick response to an owner proposal to resume the 2020 season that was fundamentally no better than MLB’s first offer. The players reduced the number of games they proposed to play from 114 to 89, offered expanded playoffs for the next two seasons, and made concessions on service time for players who opt out of the season. The offer looked like a step toward compromise. On Friday, MLB responded with an offer similar to its previous two offers. In response, the players have opted to stop negotiating against themselves, and have asked Rob Manfred to set the schedule and decide how many games the owners want to have this season.

The new offer was staged differently than owners’ the previous attempt, but the foundation of it presented the same reductions the owners have been attempting to pass on to the players since it became clear the season can’t be played with fans in attendance. MLB proposed a 72-game season with 70% pro-rated pay, amounting to $1.268 billion in game salaries. If the postseason, which was to be expanded, were completed, the players would receive another 10% of their pro-rated pay — around $181 million plus a $50 million bonus pool — essentially maxing out at $1.5 billion. Let’s compare the three offers made by MLB to the likely a 54-game season with full pro-rated pay as stipulated by the March agreement:

Salaries Under MLB Plans vs. 54-Game Pro-Rated Pay
Playoff Scenario Sliding-Scale Salary Cut (82 G) 50%/75% Pro-rated (76 G) 70%/80% Pro-Rated (72 G) 54-G Pro-Rated
No Playoffs $1.03 B $0.99 B $1.27 B $1.36 B
With Playoffs $1.23 B $1.44 B $1.50 B $1.36 B

The first offer didn’t pay as much as 54 games even with a potential playoff bonus. The second offer’s guarantee was less than the first’s, and the total possible payout was just $80 million more and heavily contingent on completing the postseason. The latest offer by MLB still guarantees players less than a 54-game season would (it’s about $60 million higher than a 48-game season with pro-rated salaries), with the potential to go a total of $140 million higher if the postseason is played. Let’s be optimistic, and say there’s a 85% chance that the 2020 playoffs are completed. That means that the $230 million in potential playoff pay in the owners’ last offer is worth more like $196 million, while the total value of the 72-game season is about $100 million more than what the players would receive in a 54-game season.

In exchange for that $100 million above the owners’ threatened plan, MLB wants:

  • Expanded playoffs, which come with television rights that might far exceed $100 million
  • 18 regular season games, which would have paid $453 million to players under the March agreement for pro-rated pay
  • The elimination of a potential-billion dollar grievance from the players over violating the March agreement’s provisions about attempting to play as many games as possible.

The owners asked the players to lop off half a billion dollars in pay and only offered a portion of the television revenues MLB won’t even receive in the first place without the players giving them expanded playoffs. While some might complain that the players took a hard-line stance and refused to budge, the owners have not made a remotely compelling offer in the course of these negotiations. Let’s turn bullet points above around, and assess a hypothetical 82-game season with pro-rated pay that would pay the players $2.06 billion, or $700 million more than a pro-rated 54-game season.

In exchange for $700 million more in pay than the owners’ threatened 54-game season, the players could have potentially offered:

  • Expanded playoffs for 2020 and 2021 worth hundreds of million of dollars in TV rights. Per the AP’s report on MLB’s presentation to the players, postseason games currently average $30 million per guaranteed game; even getting half that would mean $420 million over two seasons.
  • Twenty-eight games of local revenue amounting to $412 million in television money plus another $23 million in revenue above the cost of putting on a game. (Again, these numbers come directly from MLB’s presentation to the players, without accounting for national television revenue or shares of local RSNs).
  • Increased regular season content to satisfy national television contracts with ESPN, FOX, and TBS, and the revenue that accompanies those games (if pro-rated, that amounts to around $200 million for 28 games).
  • Eliminating the potential for a billion-dollar grievance for delayed negotiations and failure to try to play as many games as possible.

We can move around the numbers a little to account for a 48-game schedule, but the owners offered only player concessions while the players offered value in exchange for their services. If we want to have a discussion about bargaining in good faith or economic feasibility (this is certainly not the space for the entirety of that discussion), MLB offered far less in value than they wish to receive, while the players offered considerably more in the way of economic benefits to the owners than they were asking for. There’s more to an economic offer than just pay cuts. The players offered value while the owners fiddled around with the same numbers over and over again. After publicly indicating it was necessary to renegotiate the March deal, it took MLB 41 days to make its first economic offer to the MLBPA. The players responded in five days; the owners then took eight more to mull things over. After that second MLB offer, the players responded in a day; they waited three days for a response.

The owners seem to be worried about a potential second wave of COVID-19 preventing the playoffs and the money that comes with it, but they aren’t offering compelling financial incentives for the players to finish the season if there are safety concerns come October. An 82-game season starting at the beginning of July seemed like it could meet the owners’ goals of ending the season more or less when it would have under normal conditions. They offered such a timeline just three weeks ago; they offered a 76-game season a week ago! By not meeting the players’ demand to honor the pro-rated pay agreed to in March, they might have lost hundreds of millions of dollars worth of player concessions. Let’s take a look at how much the owners claim they will lose playing games per team in local revenue, without factoring in national TV money or shares in RSNs, by season length:

Local Losses Per Team By Season Length (Owners’ Claims)
Number of Games Local Loss Per Team Change from 48 Games
48 $15.4 M 0
54 $17.3 M $2.1 M
72 $23.0 M $7.6 M
82 $26.2 M $10.8 M
Does not include national television revenue or playoff revenue.

For just under $11 million per team (or just under $9 million per team if the season is 54 games), baseball could’ve had an 82-game season with expanded playoffs. Those 30 or so games probably represent somewhere between 2% and 5% of most players’ lifetime earnings. For the owners, it’s an extra hit of about three percent of revenue in just one normal year, and only one half of one percent of a franchise’s value.

The owners made a demand. The players offered compromise. What followed were similar demands from ownership despite more attempts at compromise from the players. There were certainly two parties in this negotiation, but only one was willing to make meaningful concessions. Any other view ignores the events of the last four months. The players were left to ask the owners when and where they should report to resume play. MLB might have one shot left to make a reasonable offer, as the potential schedule has been reduced by delays from ownership. Soon, we’ll know just how much baseball team owners want to play this season. Their answer might determine how much the game’s fans want to watch in the future.





Craig Edwards can be found on twitter @craigjedwards.

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tomerafan
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tomerafan

There were certainly two parties in this negotiation, but only one was willing to make meaningful concessions. Any other view ignores the events of the last four months.

How arrogant. Just absolute, unabashed arrogance. Do you realize the echo chamber you’re writing from? Do you understand how many people disagree with you? Do you understand the lack of objectivity that goes into writing a piece like this?

Here’s your Alexa site traffic data. I hope for your own sake that someone at Fangraphs is at least considering how much damage you’re doing to be this arrogant, and one-sided, and blind to reality around you.

https://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/fangraphs.com

tomerafan
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tomerafan

And I’d wager greatly that the decline in site traffic here isn’t even dispersed between those who agree and disagree with your position. You’ve chased away a larger amount of people on one side of that argument, and reinforced your own echo chamber.

Let me also be clear – the reason it’s so frustrating is because all of you are BRILLIANT baseball minds. I love your analysis of my favorite sport. But for some people (many?), you’ve squandered or eliminated that goodwill by being as obstinate towards the owners position as you claim they are being in the labor discussion. I trust the irony isn’t lost on anyone.

GoTigers!
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GoTigers!

I’m curious as to what your perspective is on how the owners have made constructive proposals to the players (not trying to attack your comment, just curious for your perspective). From my perspective, it sure feels like the owners are behaving similarly to a fantasy sports (or business) trading partner who consistently counters your offer with responses that don’t address your points (i.e. they really just keep making the same offer, but in different forms). That’s frustrating in any context, but especially when you feel like you’re being reasonable. That said, I’d welcome a different view of things.

tomerafan
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tomerafan

I don’t think the owners offers have been great.

I do think the owners offers were an entreaty to start a negotiation. The Union never came to the table. That’s my whole point. This is not 100% on the owners, no matter how much Fangraphs tries to push that narrative. Someone wants to make it 50/50, fine. 60/40 one way or the other, eh, that’s a matter of opinion, whatever.

But this statement:
The owners made a demand. The players offered compromise. What followed were similar demands from ownership despite more attempts at compromise from the players. There were certainly two parties in this negotiation, but only one was willing to make meaningful concessions. Any other view ignores the events of the last four months.

I mean, shoot. What real “compromise” did the players offer? One side moved 25% on their financial offer. The other side moved zero point zero, and said they didn’t even think there was any merit to the discussion. And the Union is the one who compromised?

How did they compromise? By offering a 40% longer season to an ownership group that claims it will lose money on a per-game basis, which requires stretching the season into November, when ownership has said that medical advice is against it and the TV revenue would change because the national TV partners have rights to October baseball based on their own schedules? That was less of a slap in the face than the owners’ offer?

By the way – for all the commentary of how greedy the owners are (and they are “greedy” in an overall sense, for sure, but I’m talking about RIGHT NOW) – if the MLBPA’s position is correct, then the March 27 agreement is the single most magnanimous agreement that sports owners have ever signed in a labor negotiation. To read it the MLBPA’s way, the doc says “We’ll pay you prorated salaries no matter what, and we can negotiate other conditions if there aren’t fans in the stands, but under no condition are we required to discuss salaries because that piece of the discussion is conclusively settled at pro rata no matter what you show us. I’m sure that is what the MLBPA wants it to say. But it’s not what it says. And to read it that way means the owners willingly gave the players a salary advance of $170M and guaranteed them pro rata no matter what, for absolutely nothing in return. You really think that’s what the owners signed? Does that pass the smell test?

(As noted several times, the written agreement is a horribly written document, at least in terms of the excerpts posted, and anyone involved in the drafting of that agreement from either side of the table should never be allowed to work in contracts again.)

The owners signed a conditional offer. “Of course we agree to pay pro rata salaries if fans are in the stands. But anything else requires a negotiation.” The Union disagrees and says that no negotiation is required. And they’re the party offering compromise? No, they regret what they signed in March, they welched on it, and they pivoted in April to negotiating the post-2021 CBA now, in the midst of a pandemic, instead of trying to negotiate today’s deal today.

Shalesh
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Shalesh

Thanks for staying on the site and writing such a strong rebuttal.

The end result was predictable: MLB signaled that they only had $1.45B to offer and it’s natural MLBPA took the minimum number of games. Craig is an MLBPA activist so he followed MLBPA’s talking points to color this obvious result as something nefarious. There’s still an open question about whether we’ll have extended playoffs this year, isn’t there? This doesn’t interest Craig as much as writing a manifesto.

Funny, I thought fans and writers were mostly against expanded playoffs back in February, since we didn’t want a diluted regular season like the NBA & NHL. Now that the MLBPA is using them as a bargaining chip, Fangraphs writers and readers are for them. Whatever serves the union, numbers and previous preferences be damned.

tomerafan
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tomerafan

Yeah, I do think it’s shocking how much people have blindly adopted the idea of expanded playoffs as good for the sport long-term. It’s not. What’s the point of a 162-game season in normal times if 14 teams make the playoffs?

I also think it’s a bit of logical fallacy to count expanded playoff revenue as a windfall for the owners when their primary concern about losses is the loss of postseason revenue overall. I mean, none of us know what the owners income or losses will actually be, and my thumbnail math suggests large losses without playoffs and small losses to breakeven to small income with playoffs… but all along, this whole attempt at a negotiation has been about two things: salary costs, and the potential that the playoff revenue doesn’t happen at all. Because the playoff revenue is relatively binary. So the additional revenue helps the owners in one setting, but it doesn’t help one bit in the max-downside-risk setting they are most worried about.

fdterr
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fdterr

So you’re saying you never watch NBA, NFL, nor NHL playoffs ever? Because a larger proportion of teams from those leagues make the playoffs every single year

v2micca
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v2micca

I despise both the NBA and NHL for this very reason. Why even bother with a regular season when over half of the teams go to a play-offs. I also loathe the NFL’s recent decision to expand the play-off field to 14 teams. Everyone will have their own opinions on the matter, but I think the ideal play-off field is 1/3 of the league’s teams. As the MLB was sending 10 of its 30 teams to the playoffs, they were right in the sweet spot. Further expansion of the post-season will damage the on field product.

rounders
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rounders

I suspect the owners have concluded that it is better in a business sense for them to not sponser baseball until spring. Too many complications, seen and unforseen. Perhaps they see getting a leg up on the players as well. But I think it will go badly for them if baseball is not played. As for the players, like any large group they don’t know what to think except what they are being told. Any union that leaves Tony Clark in charge can’t have the sense to know where to turn for solid opinions. Tony is a swell guy, but really?

The Guru
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The Guru

Players research too. Owners can’t stand the fact that sites like FG and BP exist now and level the playing field opening the curtains behind the owners nefarious motives.

joedrew
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joedrew

“No, they regret what they signed in March, they welched on it”

But the MLBPA isn’t the party asking to re-open the topic of pay, it’s the owners who are. What part am I missing? (sincere question).

My read on this is that it’s the *owners* who aren’t happy about their agreement on pay: it requires two-party consent to open pay in collective bargaining (which I learned on Effectively Wild), there is an agreement on this (both the existing contract and the March amendment), and the players’ position is that it’s a done deal, it’s the *owners* who are trying to re-open the agreement.

Josh
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Josh

It’s actually a little worse: the owners say the March agreement’s pro-rated pay item is void without fans; but, they also say the players are bound by the terms of the March agreement the owners like.

How anybody can hear owners-who claim to be broke while sitting on $1B franchises, and who refuse to publicly disclose their finances-say the players are shady, is beyond me. People here to rep for owners must really hate the idea that baseball is fan-driven entertainment. I guess now we know who keeps voting to give billions away to owners for their stadiums, while cities starve.

tomerafan
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tomerafan

I guess now we know who keeps voting to give billions away to owners for their stadiums, while cities starve.

Not me. I’ve consistently argued against not only public financing of stadiums, but – more broadly – public incentive for business expansion and/or relocation. State and local governments are horribly inefficient and ineffective with the dispersal of tax incentives, grants, or/or financing for private projects.

Now, I don’t fault baseball owners for participating in that economic-benefit regime that exists. But I have consistently argued against that system, both in the Fangraphs comment section, but more importantly in real life.

tomerafan
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tomerafan

The owners are indeed the ones asking to re-open the topic of pay. Modifying pay does indeed require two-party consent.

The Agreement says that MLB and the Union “will discuss in good faith the economic feasibility of playing games in the absence of spectators.” Not “what should salaries be” but whether to play at all. The Agreement also says that “the parties will meet regularly to bargain over application of, and any appropriate modification.”

I believe what I’ve said thus far is pure fact and not opinion.

The March agreement is poorly written, ambiguous, leaves way too much open to interpretation, and may go down in history as an example of how NOT to make progress. (Personally, I believe the March agreement was ultimately counter-productive to this process, and both sides would have been better in the long run if there weren’t a March agreement, but that’s irrelevant now.)

Both sides have a point. The Owners read the March agreement to say that no fans in stands means we bargain again, and bargain means negotiate pay. The Union has said that salary reduction of any kind is a nonstarter, seemingly meaning that “bargain modifications” is limited to things like service time, the playoffs, etc. but not, under any circumstances, compensation.

Which, to me, is nonsensical.

But the owners aren’t asking the Union to reopen the CBA on pay, They’re asking the Union to honor the terms of the March 27 agreement and come back to the table to discuss “modifications,” while the Union has said “we’ll talk all kinds of modifications, just not salary.”

tomerafan
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tomerafan

And Andrew Zimbalist’s take, from Forbes, with direct quotes of portions of the Agreement, can be found via google (but FG is moderating an attempt to post the link)

tomerafan
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tomerafan

Also, here’s a different FG blog that Craig wrote on April 22 that is much more even-handed in acnowledging the two parties’ different interpretations:

https://blogs.fangraphs.com/no-fans-no-deal-between-players-and-owners/

Ender
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Ender

The March amendment specifically says these negotiations would be opened if fans aren’t in the stands. The players have not tried to negotiate in good faith yet so that deal is pretty much null and void.

The CBA itself says players won’t get paid for games they don’t play during an emergency. So the prorated salary part is just restating the CBA.

Josh
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Josh

You seem completely confused about what piece of the negotiations you are upset about. Is it the March agreement? You’ve said you stan the owners. I get that, loud and clear. But what’s your argument against the players? That they took a small salary advance? That they keep offering to play more baseball? That more baseball potentially makes more money for owners? I can’t tell if you just hate the players or if you don’t understand what’s happened over the passage of time.

tomerafan
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tomerafan

I don’t think you know what the word “hate” means.

I think the players have a great case based on the long-term track record of success in baseball to make tremendous financial gains in the next CBA negotiations, if COVID is in the rearview mirror and the world is back to normal. If not, I think they have that case as soon as things ultimately are.

I think the MLBPA – their Union – used this pandemic as an attempt to start that negotiation. I think the Union signed a deal in March that Scott Boras puked all over after the ink was dry, and the Union has been backtracking since that day. I think the excerpts of the March agreement that have been posted are so poorly worded as to make the document really open to interpretation, which sucks for everyone. I think both sides have equal culpability in that poor document. But I also think the owners have offered contemperaneous evidence of their intent, and MLBPA has not.

I think that people who expect the owners to open their books have unrealistic expectations because the Union has made this about the post-2021 CBA rather than the current season.

So, no, I don’t hate the players. Don’t even dislike em. Kinda love a lot of them as athletes, and hope they get rewarded financially in the future.

None of that changes the fact that I think their Union has behaved poorly, and that I think it is entirely disingenuous to lay 100% of this on the owners.

And that I think it is incredibly arrogant for someone who feels otherwise to call that opinion invalid.

aklang
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aklang

Except the March agreement doesn’t say there would be renegotiations, its a false argument. If it really said that, owners would have leaked the language right away.

https://www.latimes.com/sports/story/2020-06-10/why-mlb-players-will-prevail-on-getting-full-prorated-salary

circelli17
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circelli17

@aklang Scroll down a little bit.

The “Resumption of Play” section of the agreement sets three criteria: no restrictions against fans attending games

That one ^ is a clear miss

aklang
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aklang

And scroll a bit further you get…

Nonetheless, “discuss in good faith the economic feasibility” is not the same as “discuss the amount by which salaries shall be reduced.”

Demiurge
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Demiurge

Are you a child? Yes, “economic feasibility” is not EQUIVALENT TO a “salary discussion”. Amazing observation. Player salaries, however, have so much to do with the economic feasibility of conducting a baseball season that a negotiation without player salaries on the table makes no sense at all. Sure, there are plenty of other cost considerations, but like many (most?) industries, labor is the primary cost.

And the March agreement very clearly states the need to renegotiate pay if the outlook of the pandemic changes. Go read it again.

aklang
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aklang

@demiurge i’m quoting from the latimes, I believe the writer there is an adult. Where did you get a copy of the March agreement?

tomerafan
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tomerafan

It’s baffling to me that the LA Times article would quote as much of the Agreement as they do, without also quoting this phrase:

“the parties will meet regularly to bargain over application of, and any appropriate modification”

That’s the phrase the owners are citing. No fans, we bargain again. The Union responds, nah – we don’t bargain on salary.

tomerafan
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tomerafan

BTW, Baseball Prospectus is now holding this position on behalf of the Union. The Union agrees that the “bargain” language is there and applies – but only with respect to playoff length, additional media commitments, ways to add revenue, etc. but not with respect to salary.

So the Union isn’t arguing that the “bargain” language is not there, at least according to BP.

Dag Gummit
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Dag Gummit

Re: meeting regularly
The Union has come back to the table much more quickly than the owners have at every opportunity, though. In a very clear actions-vs-words way, I at least am inclined interpret them as being very willing to bargain over the whole of the agreement (with only one firm stance). Given the great disparity in time they take to propose any counters, the owners have comparably been highly unwilling.

Unfortunately, I can come to a conclusion based on the snippet you could provide there. I would’ve liked to go into what was in the LA Times previous article they linked in the article provided by @aklang, but it was behind a pay wall. Anyone have a reliable link for it?

mike5555
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mike5555

“And to read it that way means the owners willingly gave the players a salary advance of $170M and guaranteed them pro rata no matter what, for absolutely nothing in return. You really think that’s what the owners signed? Does that pass the smell test?”

Yes it does pass the smell test, because in the players minds agreeing to pro rata salary was already a HUGE concession. Their standard contracts are structured based on pay for a championship season, with no regard to number of games played on the schedule. At any point for the March agreement the players could have said “pay us our full salaries, or we dont play at all.” Agreeing to pro rata salary for whatever number of games the owners wanted to play was already the huge concession. Why are we glossing over that?

circelli17
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circelli17

Players weren’t owed a DIME once a national emergency was announced. It’s in MLB’s bylaws. This wasn’t a concession. THEY GOT MONEY, not lost it!

tomerafan
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tomerafan

I don’t know this for certain, but other folks elsewhere have written that the CBA calls for pro rata satisfaction of contract responsibilities in the event that a national emergency shortens the season. I’ve seen the language in the Uniform Player Contract under “National Emergency” but I don’t think this would be it, because suspending the operation of the contract (i.e. holding future salary payments until play resumes) is not the same as prorating salary in the event of a shortened season due to specified acts beyond the control of MLB.

Governmental Regulation–National Emergency
11. This contract is subject to federal or state legislation, regulations, executive or other official orders or other governmental action, now or hereafter in effect respecting military, naval, air or other governmental service, which may directly or indirectly affect the Player, Club or the League and subject also to the right of the Commissioner to suspend the operation of this contract during any national emergency during which Major League Baseball is not played.

mike5555
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mike5555

you’re correct, however we’re looking at this from hindsight. At the time the president could have easily rescinded the national emergency order at any given time (memorial day or before) which would have allowed the players to collect back pay on games not played then.

It’s not difficult to imagine a scenario where the president rescinds the national emergency proclamations while states allow baseball to be played but with no fans in the stands. Things could have been a mess from a locality standpoint as well with a patchwork of rules and regulations as soon as that national emergency is rescinded. The players would then be able to sue for back pay absent an agreement, and who knows what the courts would say. In addition to these concessions the owners maintained the ability to impose a season of whatever length they would like with allowances to unilaterally change the postseason format to access revenues the players would not see a dime of, (With a possible increased workload for a large portion of the unions constituents) in return for full pro rata salary.

I simply think it’s fairly disingenuous to say the owners got nothing out of the original March Agreement.

tomerafan
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tomerafan

Point taken. They got something out of the March Agreement – they didn’t “get nothing.” But I stand by my point that – absent an agreement to further negotiate salaries without fans in the stands, the owners got very little in return for giving up a very lot, in terms of a written Agreement. And I don’t think they are quite so magnanimous as to do so.

What I mean by that – despite others now calling for “hazard pay,” etc. – pro rata is the most that the players could realistically have expected to receive. It was always the proverbial ceiling. So if it were being set as an absolute ceiling, with or without regard to fans in the stands, I’m pretty sure the owners would demanded other concessions.

If they didn’t, they were the opposite of greedy in that one particular instance.

And it’s because I believe them “greedy” as to read the March Agreement as I do. In other words, I don’t think there’s any way the “greedy” owners give up what they gave up for what they got. They signed a deal requiring additional “bargaining” (negotiation) without fans in the stands.

mike5555
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mike5555

i would also say that i think from the the players point of view given that they had agreed to prorated salaries and given that the owners had the ability to impose any length season they wanted and that there was no explicit language otherwise, it’s pretty reasonable for them to infer that “other economic considerations” would include everything but salary and i read the agreement to say the players don’t have to negotiate on salary one bit. It is in fact up to the owners to offer up more to the players if they dont want to them to play for a pro rated salary over a given number of games, since the owners have the right to stipulate such number of games, even if it is zero. I can’t understand any other reading of the agreement whatsoever? Tell me where im wrong and this isnt an owner problem? Why should the players give more for nothing in return?

WARrior
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WARrior

“if the MLBPA’s position is correct, then the March 27 agreement is the single most magnanimous agreement that sports owners have ever signed in a labor negotiation. ”

Really? Suppose, as a result of a major storm, earthquake, flood, or other natural disaster, a stadium was severely damaged to the point that either it could not accommodate all fans until lengthy repairs were made, or that the team’s games had to be moved to another stadium, which likewise could not accommodate all fans. Would the owners demand that the players take a pay cut in order that the owners could avoid the financial loss? Maybe they would if the players were considered joint owners of the team, but of course they aren’t, and the owners don’t want them to be. The players are simply employees. Since when are employees expected to shoulder the losses of the owners?

If you work in a large office building, and that building is damaged in some way, are you supposed to take a pay cut so that the building’s owner, your employer, doesn’t have to pay for the repairs? How about an apartment building? Are the renters/tenants supposed to pay for repairs? What I see here is a situation where owners, who have always drawn a firm line between themselves and their employees (or tenants), suddenly want to blur that line, to avoid financial responsiblity.

Maybe you think that a pandemic, which affects every business, is different from a localized natural disaster. But in what way is it different that makes it relevant to the owners’s claim? When someone buys a sports team, there is no guarantee that fans will regularly attend in any numbers. If they don’t, that’s on the owner. Maybe it’s because of poor performance, in which case the owner can make changes in personnel. But if lack of attendance is in no way the fault of the personnel, how can the owners ask them to pay for the loss of revenue? That implies a “we’re all in this together” view, which emphatically is not the attitude that the owners ever take in any other situation.

Imagine if, as a result of some other major social event, people suddenly started attending baseball games in much greater numbers than before. Would the owners share the increased revenue with the players? Of course they wouldn’t. If the increase became permanent, maybe the players would use it as a bargaining tool in future salary negotiations, but if it were just a one time benefit? The owners would raise player salaries beyond their previously negotiated level? Of course not.

Demiurge
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Demiurge

Your example of one stadium affecting one team and, perhaps partially, one division is not analogous to what we’re all anxiously debating amidst a pandemic which affects all 30 teams (somewhat) equally.

“Since when are employees expected to shoulder the losses of the owners?” Is that a serious question? How many people have lost a job in the last few months and/or seen a reduction in salary? I know more than a few in the service industry who have voluntarily taken a temporary wage reduction or some such equivalent to help their business survive. This is a pandemic which no business could have reasonably anticipated.

WARrior
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WARrior

People have lost jobs because the business was closed. If MLB had closed (as it still could, e.g., if it resumed, and spread of the virus among players made continuing the season untenable), players would have lost a job, and would not be blaming the owners. But MLB hasn’t closed, yet.

Yes, some people have voluntarily taken a pay cut, but as I pointed out in my post above, that is a “we’re all in this together” situation. People who work in the service industry frequently have this attitude towards their employers. Baseball players do not, and they don’t specifically because the owners discourage that kind of thinking. Some service businesses treat all their employees as family. Owners have never treated players like that.

Doug
Member
Member
Doug

I agree with most of WARrior’s points but this one:
” Since when are employees expected to shoulder the losses of the owners?”

Do you even America? Socialization of risk and privatization of profit is what it’s all about.

WellIDoubtThat
Member
WellIDoubtThat

Thanks for taking the time. There was never any chance of your comments being received decently here, but they are appreciated by many unseen.

James Parks
Member
Member
James Parks

Unfortunately the group think is just as bad at most internet baseball sites. I have already decided not to support BP anymore. I think there is hope here, there are quite a few that write here without an agenda. The key is just ignore any pieces here about the business of baseball, the bias in any of these articles make them nothing more than propaganda pieces.

tomerafan
Member
Member
tomerafan

Yup, canceled my BP membership, plus here and the EW podcast. Folks who write brilliantly about the analytical side of baseball are not necessarily capable of writing rational posts about the business side of baseball. Especially when some of the key players talk openly of their disdain for business in general, their own experience on Wall Street, etc. It’s just a complete lack of objectivity. Having a long-time axe to grind against the owners – which may be warranted; that’s a matter of opinion – has blinded a lot of people to the actual facts and events at hand.

James Parks
Member
Member
James Parks

I’m still willing to support Fangraphs. David Laurila, Eric Longerhagen, Mike Podherzer, and Jay Jaffe make the site worth the price of admission, to me. They are enough to counterweight the opinion pieces that masquerade as articles about the business side of the game. Wouldn’t be shocked that they feel the same as Edwards but they at least keep it out of their writing for the most part.

Josh
Member
Member
Josh

Bye!

Red
Member

Who died and made you the arbiter of objectivity? How do you decide what is objective and what is biased? Do you have expertise or graduate level education in this field? How do I as a reader know that you don’t have a personal axe to grind with this (or any) particular writer? How do I know that advancing a political ideology via popular websites/social media isn’t one responsibility of a paid position you may or may not hold?

In my opinion, we live in a world with absurd bias towards big business. After all, this often looks like a ruthlessly individualistic place that insists upon maximizing raw profit, at the expense of anything else, including human capital.

Perhaps society itself has a pro big business bias, and therefore any well reasoned critique of it is dismissed out of hand as biased. I’m sure that this view makes me a radical leftist statist socialist communist, but all I’d say is, the Panama Papers can get leaked in our world, and virtually no one implicated in them, for crimes including tax fraud and tax evasion, faces any consequences. Meanwhile, I might get thirty or forty years from stealing some shit from a convenience store, at least if I’m the wrong Crayola.

I am writing a biased comment. Your rude comments are so biased – this writer is more responsible for a baseball site losing traffic than no baseball being played (?!) – that they don’t warrant responses.

tomerafan
Member
Member
tomerafan

They don’t warrant responses, and yet you responded. I’ll try to enjoy that logic pretzel.

You don’t know that I don’t have an axe to grind. (I don’t, but you don’t have to take my word for it. I appreciate skepticism as much as anyone.) But I’m not the one asking people for money to support my dissemination of my views, or providing the seeds of re-tweets with half-truths, recreations of acceptable definitions and highly biased analysis. (The cake-taking was last week, where Craig wrote a post about revenues and salaries and called it “profit,” and then tried to caveat that it’s not really profit – ’cause it’s not – and then the next day another FG writer talked about profit in absolute terms referencing Craig’s work… you don’t have to look too hard to call that out as blatant.)

I don’t claim to be the arbiter of objectivity. I’m expressing an opinion, and it’s one that may be in the minority, but isn’t alone by any means. I’m providing feedback in a comments section, from a place of logic and reason, rather than emotion.

I’m not sure what the Panama Papers or white collar crime have to do with anything, nor your thoughts on petty theft. I mean, I’m an active (ACTIVE) advocate for criminal justice reform, with my time as well as my dollars, but that’s irrelevant to the conversation at hand.

As far as my points on website traffic… well, again, since this is a website based on statistical analysis, I’ve looked at the actual data. See the comparison between FG and BR, which is not one that I made, but one that I responded to. That may not isolate all variables, but it at least makes the point in comparison to another baseball site – and one that doesn’t even generate content. The user engagement of FG has fallen farther., and sharper. It also has contended to trend down over the last six weeks while BR leveled off at May 1. Unless I’m reading the simple data wrong – which I may be – I think it makes the point.

docgooden85
Member
Member
docgooden85

“I’m providing feedback in a comments section, from a place of logic and reason, rather than emotion.”

I had to LOL at this sentence coming in the middle of your extended tantrum-slash-meltdown all over this comments section today.

tomerafan
Member
Member
tomerafan

Not a tantrum nor a meltdown. Just sitting with a cup of coffee, lamenting the fact that I’m so disappointed in my favorite website.

circelli17
Member
Member
circelli17

If you think that’s a meltdown you don’t have a clue what a meltdown is. It was a clear, concise rebuttal. The only troll here is you

tomerafan
Member
Member
tomerafan

Yeah…. I mean, I have a six year old. His meltdowns don’t involve logic, cites, etc. But again, some folks think it’s a “meltdown” or “tantrum” or “trolling” to disagree strongly. That makes me sad for different reasons than the baseball discussion.

The best boss I ever had stopped a leadership group meeting once and said, “I didn’t hire any of you to agree with my blindly. Your job is to challenge me and stand your ground. If you agree with me blindly, then you don’t make us better and we don’t need you.” I never forgot that.

circelli17
Member
Member
circelli17

Look at the world today. It’s the lack of respect that people have for every else’s POV that we are in the times that we are in. Agree, disagree, you can make up your own mind. Just don’t force somebody else to conform to your views.

Demiurge
Member
Member
Demiurge

So just calling a rebuttal a tantrum is enough now? Have you actually read tomerafan’s comments here? There’s nothing reactionary or even ideologically motivated in his or her opinions. These are all well-reasoned comments that you are free to disagree with. You should try actually listening to someone and responding like an intelligent human being rather than shooshing with an arrogant, limerick-length dismissal.

Re-read the quote that you yourself quoted. It appears, from what I’ve seen here, to be accurate.

jkdjeff
Member
Member
jkdjeff

This is not an airport. You don’t need to announce your departure.

py2sl
Member
Member
py2sl

Biggest down vote ever

tomerafan
Member
Member
tomerafan

I don’t base my own opinions, or my own self-worth, on upvotes or downvotes or popularity contests. Your mileage may vary.

James Parks
Member
Member
James Parks

py2sl, feel free to point out any errors in tomerafan’s analysis instead of engaging in the downvote circle jerk game.

olethros
Member
Member
olethros

He claims that the “players never came to the table” which is laughably false. The players have offered numerous concessions to the owners. The owners have made the same offer three times. And once I read that sentence everything else he had to say was rendered irrelevant, because he started with an outright lie. I strongly suspect that he’s on the payroll of MLB or a team in a social media/marketing capacity, because if he’s just spouting that nonsense for free he needs a new fucking hobby.

James Parks
Member
Member
James Parks

What were the concessions the players made?

Josh
Member
Member
Josh

Oh, you’re one of those internet answer bros, James Parks.

“Explain everything to me or I’ll consider myself the winner!”

Hard pass.

James Parks
Member
Member
James Parks

The groupthink is strong with this one…

circelli17
Member
Member
circelli17

Stuff that actually benefits the players themselves, but somehow has turned into something important. You know like “micing up players” “offering additional access” and an offseason Home Run derby. If those are the “concessions” but the additional 200-300 million the owners offered isn’t than I must be in the twilight zone. Getting your name and exposure out there not only benefits the game and the owner but also THE PLAYERS THEMSELVES.

CC AFC
Member
Member
CC AFC

Yeah, but like, getting COVID definitely is not a benefit. IDK, it’s a balance…exposure for fame balanced against exposure to fucking deadly disease that might fuck your lungs up to the point of requiring a transplant even it doesn’t kill you.

circelli17
Member
Member
circelli17

Absolutely true, which is why you don’t have to play if you don’t want to or if you deem the risk too great.

CC AFC
Member
Member
CC AFC

That’s a good impersonation of Daniel Day Lewis’ character from “There will be blood.” “Get your ass in that oil well for $2 or go home with nothing to eat. The choice is yours, not mine!”

tomerafan
Member
Member
tomerafan

The owners have made the same offer three times.
The owners increased the salary offer by, I think, 25% over the course of their offers. The Union budget on pay zero point zero.

I am not saying the owners budged enough. But only one side budget on comp, and it’s not the Union.

circelli17
Member
Member
circelli17

It’s because the number of games has gone down in every proposal. I wish they would mention the PER GAME gains that they have made SOMEWHERE. Pushing the # of games down as time elapses makes sense because it pushes spring training and the season back more and more. I’m sure that was the plan of the owners plans. I don’t begrudge them at all. You use what you have while bargaining. Everyone is OK with the players standing firm, but they argue until they are red in the face about the playoff start date. It makes no sense.

MikeS
Member
Member
MikeS

Oh, yeah. I’m sure site traffic is down because of politics. There can’t be any other reason a baseball site’s traffic would be down during a summer with no baseball.

tomerafan
Member
Member
tomerafan

Who made this about politics?

jonah-pride
Member
jonah-pride

What could possibly be driving a downturn in traffic on a baseball related site? Clearly it must be entirely Craig’s opinions, I’m sure the lack of actual baseball happening has nothing to do with it at all.

tomerafan
Member
Member
tomerafan

Those two things don’t have to be, and aren’t, mutually exclusive.

Josh
Member
Member
Josh

Oh, but you think owners-vs-players labor negotiations aren’t political?

You’re not very bright, tomerafan. Or else you’re a liar.

tomerafan
Member
Member
tomerafan

I don’t think I’m either of those things. Unproductive today, sure, and damn if that isn’t going to hurt later. But oh well.

What I definitely, am, though, is a person who doesn’t need to hurl insults at you to try to make a point.

Selectchrl
Member
Member
Selectchrl

“How arrogant. Just absolute, unabashed arrogance. ”
*Narrator voice*
He was.

dl80
Member
Member
dl80

-insert “Why not both?” gif here

Anon21
Member
Anon21

So what’s your explanation of why The Athletic, ESPN, SBNation, Baseball Reference, and MLB.com have sustained similarly shaped declines in traffic over the same time period?

If you seriously think the site’s editorial viewpoint has more than a negligible, impossible-to-measure effect on traffic when the site is also dealing with the cancellation of the event that it is devoted to covering, you are stupid.

Jonny's Bananas
Member
Member
Jonny's Bananas

I never knew there was an MLB owner lurking amongst the Fangraphs commentariat!

Michael
Member
Member
Michael

That’s exactly what I was thinking! Lol. Arte is that you? I think the players share a little blame, but the owners own most of this mess.

jkdjeff
Member
Member
jkdjeff

You joke, but it is entirely possible that the owners are paying social media companies to go out and try to advance their arguments on the internet.

tomerafan
Member
Member
tomerafan

Wow. Just, wow. And people wonder where conspiracy theories come from. “I don’t agree with you, so you must be part of a coordinated information campaign!” Wow. (Besides, their grammar and spelling are much worse, though do make the occasional typo.)

jkdjeff
Member
Member
jkdjeff

It is a possible motive for how aggressively you’re taking the owners’ side of this issue, and there is a very long track record of large companies (which MLB teams are, whatever else they might also be) paying people to manipulate discussions on social media.

If you don’t like someone raising that as a possibility? Too bad.

Personally I don’t think it’s likely; I think you’re much more of a generic ‘no such thing as bad attention’ troll.

tomerafan
Member
Member
tomerafan

Please see my response above on the players, and what I hope for them in the next CBA negotiation. This ain’t that.

I can separate my hopes from the players getting a bigger share of the pie in the future from my belief that their Union has behaved poorly and that, this time, there is overwhelming information to say this isn’t 100% on the owners. I can hold both of those thoughts simultaneously.

Maybe the definition of a troll has changed tremendously over the last decade or so, but I don’t think the definition fits. It doesn’t mean “someone with whom I disagree.”

jkdjeff
Member
Member
jkdjeff

My definition of a troll is someone who takes a contrarian position and attempts to dominate a conversational space in order to garner attention.

I do not believe that you hold the positions that you are arguing in favor of, or at least, not as strongly as would merit the level of defense you’re giving them.

You get to show up, say ridiculous things, and play the victim when people point out that you’re saying ridiculous things.

dukewinslow
Member
Member
dukewinslow

As someone in a finance department at a university (which gives me laughably less expertise than someone in the accounting department, but I still have to teach this stuff)… I think Tomerafan’s established that he knows more about debt covenants and corporate finance than the author here. The stark ignorance from the author and the painfully one sided nature of the discussion in the article has meant that the discussions in the comments are way more useful for understanding these issues.

tomerafan
Member
Member
tomerafan

I don’t claim to know a lot, but I know a little. And I read a lot.

One of the things that has surprised me most is that Fangraphs hasn’t acknowledged the difference between exponential effect and lineal effect in any of their attempts at financial models. I’ve put that information here in the comments section for multiple blog posts, but it’s been ignored. But it’s simple – if EBITDA flips from positive to negative, or falls from above a certain specified range to below a certain specified range, the cost of existing debt becomes significantly more expensive (or calls for a greater collateral post, or partial principal prepayment, etc.).

The effect of debt covenants presents an exponential, non-linear change to modeling when EBITDA fluctuates greatly. And I can’t imagine anyone is arguing that – whether or not the owners turn losses – EBITDA won’t fluctuate GREATLY absent the fan & concession revenue. And it’s part of why the owners are so concerned about locking in salaries but not earning the postseason revenues. But it’s also why their models aren’t linear, despite Fangraphs (and Passan and BPro and 538 and others) running all kinds of linear assumptions on what happens at different salary points. So people keep running linear models – including on the national TV revenue – without understanding that paying full salaries but losing the playoff revenues likely creates an exponential negative impact to either cash flow, profit, or both.

Again, the posting of this fact will be met with “who cares, screw the owners and their debt” responses. I get it. But people who make claims about the owner’s losses, or likelihood thereof, should at least understand and acknowledge the scenario modeling in general that underlines the assumptions. And I’d expect that of a place so steeped in analytics and modeling as this place is.

Spa City
Member
Spa City

Tomerafan hit the nail on the head.

It is not just Craig Edwards (who only seems to write bitter political Editorials that are loosely anchored to the actual sport)… Fangraphs has created an extreme echo chamber and a hostile environment for anybody whose views do not conform to the narrow views of the editorial staff.

Fangraphs was so different when Dave Cameron was steering the ship. Those days are gone.

Once you go down this road, you can’t get your lost audience back. I canceled my membership, and I encourage people to do the same. The brazen begging for money is embarrassing when you consider the $ goes to pay writers to publish propaganda.

In 2 years I will be surprised if Fangraphs is much more than a small blog with a fringe audience.

I love Ottoneu. But Fangraphs as a whole is just sad now.

willl
Member
Member
willl

Why do you keep coming back and commenting on articles?

tomerafan
Member
Member
tomerafan

I will… I paid for my membership… reupped it in the last couple months… canceled it from renewing… but who knows, maybe the site will turn back around.

Change doesn’t happen without protest. My protest here doesn’t matter a hill of beans compared to what’s happening in the real world, but I’m still gonna do it.

Cave Dameron
Member
Cave Dameron

Keep fighting man.

Spa City
Member
Spa City

Why not?

TKDC
Member
Member
TKDC

He backed up his statement with facts and arguments. You backed up your disagreement with nothing. Well, you did cite internet traffic right before declaring a “popularity contest” to be worthless. Well, which is it?

tomerafan
Member
Member
tomerafan

A popularity contest on one person’s opinions is pretty different to me than site-traffic data measuring internet users in general and the way they vote with their eyeballs and engagement… one is opinion and the other is based in data… again, your mileage may vary.

TKDC
Member
Member
TKDC

Yes, there is ironclad proof that people who read your comments don’t like them. And then there is your conjecture that Fangraphs has some sort of bent that turns people off (claims of which have been fairly consistent in pace if not entirely identical in content for at least a decade-plus that I’ve been reading this site). This, despite the fact that there not only isn’t a season, but there aren’t even other baseball things to talk about aside from a micro draft and when baseball might return. You have a baseless theory. You have provided no nexus to connect the reason you’ve conjured to reality. You say it is based on data but you clearly don’t know what that means.

Josh
Member
Member
Josh

Right.

Tomerafan: “FG is wrong because site traffic is down, which means nobody likes their opinions!”

Also tomerafan: “I’m right because I get all the downvotes, which means nobody likes my opinions!”

Genius at work, people.

tomerafan
Member
Member
tomerafan

Neither of those are remotely things that I have said. The fact that you interpret them that way says more about you than it does me.

circelli17
Member
Member
circelli17

It’s always harder to make an argument about something than agree with the masses. If you want to follow what everybody else tells you than best of luck in life @TKDC

TKDC
Member
Member
TKDC

Being contrarian for the sake of it is not a virtue. Most of the disagreement with this piece boils down to “this is pro-players and that’s why Fangraphs sucks.” I know that it is “harder to make an argument” than just go along, but it is not harder to just sling insults and accusations. “This is why no one likes Fangraphs” is in no meaningful way an argument. In my time reading Fangraphs, the writers and commentariat have generally been welcoming of an opposing viewpoint. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they are less open to baseless and childish insults on their character and motives. On top of that, turning unfounded accusations into a self-given badge of honor and droning on about how much better you are than others also is not a good way to make friends and influence people. Even some people who maybe kind of agree with tomerafan think he presents his points poorly.

circelli17
Member
Member
circelli17

I love fangraphs. I don’t love these pro-player fluff pieces that Craig has been throwing out here for the last few weeks. They are so obviously one-sided and bias that I’m glad I’m not the only one with the same thoughts. Also you should double check who exactly is calling who names here. Everything tomerafan has laid out is his opinion and snippets of quotes. The name calling has been AT him quite a bit (although it seems to have been cleaned off recently).

Freddy Knuckles
Member
Member
Freddy Knuckles

Hi Rob! /waves

willl
Member
Member
willl

It’s tragic that FanGraphs’ blatant politicking is also dragging down Baseball Reference with it! Their visitor stats are even worse than FanGraphs’! https://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/baseball-reference.com

Clearly the vile, liberalism of Fangraphs has invaded the cold, hard stats of BRef too. Such a shame.

tomerafan
Member
Member
tomerafan

Um, you realize that basic comparative analysis can be applied to your BR example to prove my point, right? Look at the decline in site traffic of FG vs BR. Graph ’em against each other on the same axes and see which is steeper between March 15 and today, as a comparative analysis.

FanGraphs “traffic & engagement rank” dropped from 13,674 to 23,989 over the last 90 days. BR dropped from 5211 to 7267. And then realize that only one of those sites generates content, and it ain’t BR.

BR’s drop was sharp and then flattened off on May 1. People are using the site similarly, six weeks later. Fangraphs drop is a steady downslope. People are engaging with the site 43% less than they were six weeks ago. I mean, maybe I’m reading this data wrong and if so, I’ll have a ton of egg on my face, but that’s what the numbers look like to me. So, if you wanted to grab an example, I think you picked the wrong one. If I’m reading the data incorrectly, please tell me and I’ll gladly admit I’m wrong.

Demiurge
Member
Member
Demiurge

I finally got a paid membership last month because Fangraphs has been a welcome home for me for 10 years now, but your comments of late have really put in relief the problems that exist here these days. Their best writers were all gone by 2019, but I thought Fangraphs was still worth my attention. I’m not sure about that anymore due to articles like this one.

circelli17
Member
Member
circelli17

You aren’t read it wrong @tomerafan. Good take!

willl
Member
Member
willl

You’re making the assertion that FG’s viewership numbers are dropping because of an editorial shift (that you admit happened well before March). For someone to argue as much as you do about presenting dishonest “facts”, you sure do your fair share of presenting distorted “facts” to make an argument.

BR, who do nothing to editorialize, but are generally the authority on baseball statistics, dropped precipitously (though not as much as FG appears to). However, MLB.com has dropped from 1425 to 3103 (a significantly larger fall compared to FG). MLBtraderumors.com has dropped from 13,288 to 33,970. MILB.com dropped from 28,538 to 52,731 (buoyed recently by the draft). Those are just the biggest MLB websites I can think of. Expand it to ESPN.com (108 to 184). NFL.com (1057 to 1944). NBA.com (637 to 2787). I could go on and on.

FanGraphs viewership from March to June is not declining because their writers’ views differ from yours. They are declining because there is no baseball. Just as every other baseball or sports site.

Linking to a chart showing declining readership does not establish a correlation between its editorial opinions and its readership base becoming alienated. It’s because of COVID.

Your argument is a poor one that suffers from the exact same faults you vilify FanGraphs for.

tomerafan
Member
Member
tomerafan

Interesting analysis, and thanks for that. I only pulled BR because that was the one that, you know, you put on the table first.

MiLB isn’t analagous because the belief is that there won’t be any minor league baseball at all, even if there is MLB action.

MLB trade rumors… well, there’s a transaction freeze in place, right?

BR and FG both have stats, and FG also generates content. I think that’s a more apt comparison than MiLB and MLBTR… but, again, your mileage may vary, and that’s cool.

Linking to a chart showing declining readership does not establish a correlation between its editorial opinions and its readership base becoming alienated. It’s because of COVID.

My point in response to your initial BR comment is that one site (BR) that only shows stats and a couple of aggregated player links saw readership plateau around May 1 and hold steady, while a site that houses stats and also generates content has seen its readership continue to drop over the last six weeks. That’s the most apt comparison in the data set, and it’s interesting to me. Why would engagement of unique content on top of stats fall sharper than BR stats-alone “because of COVID”? Relatively speaking?

mwallach
Member
Member
mwallach

MLBTR isn’t just transaction news. While it’s largely known for that, they have had more original posts and content recently.

tomerafan
Member
Member
tomerafan

Interesting – honestly, thanks, because I didn’t know that, and need to check it out.

WARrior
Member
Member
WARrior

Since, as you note, BR doesn’t have articles like FG, the people who go there do so mostly for stats. There’s been some drop because of the stalled season, but many people (I’m one of them) go there for stats of prior seasons. So at a certain point, when the people just going for current stats stop visiting the site, traffic plateaus. There’s always been a solid base of users for historical research, and no reason that shouldn’t continue even if no baseball is being played.

People go to FG, in contrast, for the articles, to a large degree. Most of the articles, in the past, during the season, have been about the season. Since we don’t have a season, writers have been challenged to write about something else. This is not what most of us want. It’s better than nothing, but as time goes on, and there still is no season, people get tired of the articles about other things that the writers are forced to write. They lose interest, something that’s maintained among historical researchers at BR.

This is just my speculation, of course. But I think it explains the situation just as well as your theory that FG is losing traffic because visitors don’t like the politically-biassed views of the writers. I know that I myself have visited FG much less often, not because of disagreement with views of the authors–which I might often have–but because the further we get into a no-season, the less relevant the articles are to me.

And since you keep accusing those of us who disagree with you about owners vs. players of being biassed, I’ll add that I think your theory is more biassed than mine, because it’s formulated specifically to support your view that FG is not discussing the stalemate fairly and objectively. Whereas my theory doesn’t take a position on this at all, but is simply based on the different reasons people tend to go to the two different sites.

ABaseballDude
Member
Member
ABaseballDude

I agree 1000% with you Tomerafan It’s sickening the bias these writers operate with. Shame on Fangraphs for not reigning that garbage in. We saw that same bias in their “COVID” reporting as well. It’s disgusting. Keep politics and bias OUT. EDIT: I just cancelled my membership from renewing as a result of the continued BIAS that is shown.

sadtrombone
Member
Member
sadtrombone

I am going to say five things that I think are true, and are not mutually exclusive.

1) I actually have learned a lot from tomerafan during this process, so I’m glad he stuck around.

2) I think that Craig does have a tendency to sometimes make and stick with very, very bad takes over several weeks at a time. So I understand where he is coming from.

3) Craig’s math has been excellent in this series, and has been very well done.

4) I also think that Craig stepped over the line with hyperbole here, even though his math is good. This really is an editorial, and probably didn’t need to be written this way.

5) All that said, I think tomerafan’s comment is factually wrong in at least a few ways and rather nasty. I’m not a fan of how his comment was worded either.

tomerafan
Member
Member
tomerafan

I appreciate your point of view as a super reasonable commenter who can agree to disagree and approach things from a factual rather than emotional perspective.

I would gladly appreciate any remarks on where my comments are factually wrong. It was not my intent to be nasty (as opposed to firm). But I stand by my use of the word “arrogance,” if that is indeed what you’re referring to. It is arrogant to write opinion pieces and then say “disagreeing with my POV has absolutely no merit,” which is what Craig did here. (There were certainly two parties in this negotiation, but only one was willing to make meaningful concessions. Any other view ignores the events of the last four months.) Sorry, but that is the definition of arrogant writing.

sadtrombone
Member
Member
sadtrombone

Yeah, sorry, it was nasty and incorrect. It came off as wishing ill on the site. And traffic is down because there is no baseball and nearly nothing to write about. If anything, these hot-take things that inspire lots of clicks are probably driving the traffic here right now. That’s how the click-based internet world works.

I wish we had more articles like the one Craig wrote on the per-game losses and fewer ones that are primarily editorials like this one, and I empathize because when Craig gets going like this he is impossible to dissuade (he had a string at one point where he inappropriately drew conclusions from data in nearly a dozen consecutive articles…it was mind-blowing). I think I did one of these “you are wrong about everything” comments on one of Travis’s interminable and overstated “swing change revolution” posts too, so this is as much for me as it is for you, but I think you should have considered doing some deep breathing exercises first. It’s like that xkcd comic, which I’ll post in another comment since otherwise it’ll block the whole thing here.

EDIT: hey, it went through! https://xkcd.com/386/

tomerafan
Member
Member
tomerafan

First off, the comic is hysterical, and I’ve not seen it before. Thanks.

I don’t wish ill on the site, or on anyone. That’s not in my nature. I can disagree vehemently and separate that from any personal feelings.

I do, however, think that those who appear to exist in echo chambers of any kind need to be reminded of the value in engaging other perspectives, and considering them. As always, those individuals or organizations are free to ignore that call.

As far as your comments on traffic being down because there is no baseball and nothing else to write about… look, I stand behind the simple (imperfect but simple) comparison of FG traffic and engagement to BR. One site has stats and content. The other site has stats. The latter saw engagement plateau on May 1 and hold steady since. The former – with content – has seen its traffic and engagement drop. I’m not wishing ill on anyone to point out that factual comparison. Some folks may not like that I’ve posted it, or drawn attention to it, and that’s their prerogative.

But if FG is going to make multiple entreaties for memberships, merch sales and outright donations to keep the site going, then someone has to at least point out the possibility that they are self-endangering that very proposition.

TheBobble
Member
TheBobble

Thank you so much for posting this tomerafan, and supporting your argument with logic, reason and facts. Particularly Continuing to do so in the face of such hostility from other commenters..
The fact that you are being so reasonable and analytical and still receiving so many downvotes makes me think there is a bot voting you down. Either that or a lack of logical reasoning skills in this thread.

sadhulk
Member
Member
sadhulk

Take the message of the comic to heart. You can put this energy to more productive things than insulting a baseball blog.

dukewinslow
Member
Member
dukewinslow

It’s a bad thing when the commenters are consistently more correct than the authors. I work in a nasty, aggressive field, so tomerafan’s comment read fine (you want nasty? Go hang out at EJMR). I do expect more from people who do financial analyses. The issue hasn’t been that the articles on the negotiation are all bad- I would just skip them if they were. The issue is that the more editorial ones get mixed in with the reporting/financial analysis.

sadtrombone
Member
Member
sadtrombone
Red
Member

Friendly reminder that in the US this past decade, basically everything besides the Fox News and the Daily Caller and the like got slandered as biased, and then as “fake news” – you know, the “mainstream media” is bad, an umbrella term used to classify every media organization except, conveniently, ones I personally select.

Before long, tens of millions of Americans don’t trust any news or media organizations at all. That’s okay, because everything turned out just peachy and sunshine and puppies. Everything is under control.

Information that doesn’t reaffirm my biases or advance my political objectives hurts my feelings 🙁

docgooden85
Member
Member
docgooden85

One can’t as easily control a population that agrees on a common set of basic facts coming from an independent source.

circelli17
Member
Member
circelli17

The reason that the proposals are similar is because MLB kept pushing the # of games down. Because you know, the CALENDAR. The PER GAME pay keeps going up. But absolutely no-one here wants to listen to that. If you want to argue they should have started talking early fine. I will give you that. But the PA nuked the first “offer” they were going to propose without so much as a discussion. That’s all they continue to do. No one on either side actually wants a discussion, it’s all this is my position and I’m not moving. THAT IS NOT A NEGOTIATION.

Josh
Member
Member
Josh

Hi, Bud Selig. Nice of you to join us. You racketeer, you.

gvanlue
Member
gvanlue

As someone who generally tries to see things from both sides, I think I understand where you’re coming from. But I think that here, as in many places, what you’re perceiving as arrogance is a strongly-held conviction– one that has underpinned the writing here for as long as I’ve been reading it. I may not always agree with the editorial bent of this site, but I don’t expect this site or any other media not to have one. If they were to back away from what they believe in for the sake of more hits, I think the site would ultimately be the poorer for it. If people, including possibly you, stop reading, then maybe this isn’t the site for them. I think it’s great to question and challenge them on assertions you think are inaccurate or unfair, and it’s certainly stoked a great conversation here- but waffling on their core beliefs is a big ask.

brentdaily
Member
Member
brentdaily

Is this Arte Moreno’s burner account?

circelli17
Member
Member
circelli17

These kind of comments are just so sad. Heaven forbid somebody doesn’t have the same opinion as you and decides to post it.

paul ehrlich
Member
paul ehrlich

Pretty sure it’s for laughs. Most of us recognize that for every 100 readers, there are going to be a few who are corporatists and highly sympathetic to the agenda of big business.

D-Wiz
Member
Member
D-Wiz

Yikes. Maybe take a break from commenting for a few days (/weeks/months/years)?

Gates
Member
Member
Gates

How is Craig Edward’s influence on site traffic germaine to the conversation?

Vern
Member
Member
Vern

How do the boots taste?

MikeD
Member
Member
MikeD

Congrats. You may have accomplished the most down votes ever on a single post and collectively in a thread. This is purely observational, not a comment on the content.

Serbian to Vietnamese to French is back
Member
Serbian to Vietnamese to French is back

wtf?