I covered my first MLB labor talks in 1980. I was on the '81 strike so long, when it started I was in radio; when it ended I was on CNN. I covered the '82 NFL talks for 8 months.

This is why I think not only is Baseball's Opening Day delayed, but the whole SEASON is at risk:
2) There are no owners left from 1975, when an arbitrator ruled that the "reserve clause" was illegal, which ushered in free agency.

But today's owners speak of that era like King Arthur and Camelot and dream of returning to it.

What they don't know is that the arbitrator...
3) warned their predecessors before ruling, and urged them to find a compromise with the @MLBPA (free agency in year 7 or only X free agents a year, whatever). The Union was ready to do that.

Instead the owners fired the arbitrator. And sued. And lost everything, eternally.
4) But they have been told by Rob Manfred 'I went to Labor Relations College. I know how to break a Union. These players are terrified of losing money. They are children and idiots and their leaders are amateur gang bosses. We can get much of 1975 back. We can get a salary cap!'
5) The return of the salary cap (not a literal one, but a de facto version enforced by punishing high salaries and free agent signings) has been an article of faith among the owners since 1980. Once a new owner literally asked me "when do you think we'll get the salary cap they..
6) ...promised me?"

In the last 20 years almost all new wealth has gone to the mega-rich. They may own businesses; maybe two of them could actually run them themselves. They only know two things: 1) profits; and 2) increased profits.

They believe now is the time for #2.
7) Worse still for hopes of playing at all in 2022: I don't know how many of these guys even like baseball. I can think of 2 majority owners who would go to games as ex-owner fans.

Remember: the part-owners who locked out the players, include Derek Jeter and @MagicJohnson.
8) The owners WANT. MORE. MONEY.

Period.

They see the national climate as being 100% pro-ownership, pro-bosses, pro-rich, pro-entitled-wealth, anti-labor, anti-Union.

Few have personal memories of the disasters of 1981 and 1994. Fewer, care.
9) More particular to this lockout: a real labor expert told me, 40+ years ago, that there are only two labor approaches from ownership: one in which they are, or need to appear to be, concerned about the reaction of their consumers.

They constantly reassure. They empathize...
10)...they worry. They regret. They make sure that whatever actions THEY have taken, how ever much it might be their fault, how ever much they make labor look like the bad guys, that they are "at the table." They're ready to meet, they're at the talks, they're scheduling Talks.
11) Then, said the expert, there's the other kind: the "we own this industry. You just work here. And YOU? You just buy a product here. More talks? We'll get back to you. Maybe."

The attitude of these owners is: "We own. You panic."

Guess which kind of owners these are? ➡️
12) Every few decades a new anti-labor figure rises in baseball, by promising owners he will increase profits. Once it was Reinsdorf. Now it's Manfred. He is now expected to deliver.

It is not unreasonable to think he'll either deliver or be fired. HE has no reason to compromise
13) Added to this tinderbox of disaster: after a steady decline in its solidarity and strength, the union is pissed off - pissed off at that very perception of weakness; pissed off at the lockout; pissed off at the owners' profits soaring while theirs are plateauing.
14) Lastly, the recent history of seasonal interruptions in the major sports is not auspicatory. The NHL locked out the players in 2012 (cost nearly half the season), 2004 (season cancelled), 1994 (nearly half). The NBA locked out the players in 2011 (20% of the season lost)...
15) and 1998 (cost half the season).

The NFL has only locked out its players once, and avoided losing games. MLB hasn't done it since 1990 - and that was thwarted by an independent commissioner who was fired for his independence. And the owners forced the '94 strike in pique.
16) At this point I would still ask for long odds in my favor, but if I had to pick only one option among all those available, I'd quote Dickens: "Men's courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead," and predict there won't be a 2022 season.
Thanks for coming to my Dread Talk.

PS: I wasn't IN that college but I took courses AT the same labor college Manfred did.

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More from @KeithOlbermann

Jan 29
Since Elizabeth Montgomery is trending:

30 years ago this month I was reading a Lizzie Borden book as I waited for our LA-bound flight to board. From the aisle a familiar voice said "Keith! You're reading about ME!"

Lizzie Montgomery introduced herself. Like I didn't know
2) "Is that seat taken?"

We flew and drank to LA. Huge sports fan, regular viewer of mine on the local news. A total gas: as funny and ribald as she was talented and beautiful. We both had to fly back to NYC in two weeks. "Let's be flying buddies!"
3) She gave me a lift to my folks' home and when we got there she said "quick, let's play a joke on them." I knocked on the door, my Dad opened it to see only Lizzie. "Hi Mr. Olbermann. My name's Lizzie, I'm a friend of Keith's. Can he come out and play?"

She. Was. A. Gas.
Read 8 tweets
Jan 24
From behind the scenes:

@chucktodd is like this in real life, too. Sniveling, bothsidesist, ready to placate authoritarianism if it preserves his paycheck. It's so bad that after 10 years I quit a fantasy football league we were in because I just couldn't stand him any more.
2) The flashpoint: @chucktodd deliberately altered @AOC's quote about concentration camps to make it look antisemitic. Chuck would not accept the idea that concentration camps originated in Cuba, and in The Boer War. Disputed the documented history. Insisted it wasn't true.
3) I didn't know him before nbc so I don't know if tv did this to him, but he also must undermine colleagues to make himself feel functional. Again - a fantasy football league is a stupid thing - but the one we had was full of political and media friends. And it was private.
Read 5 tweets
Jan 16
All news outlets have one person who exists solely to placate the GOP, so that it will be able to protect its profits in the event fascist autocracy arrives here in 2025.

At @NBCNews that version of Marshal Petain is @chucktodd.

It used to be embarrassing. It is now seditious.
In the old days, the fascists thought Russert was this guy. What they didn't know was that every time Ed Gillespie or whoever bitched and threatened over what I'd said, Tim would call me and sat "the assholes were in here again. What can you give me?" Once I said "well you know..
...that 'Old Man Yells At Cloud' image from The Simpsons I use whenever mention McCain? I'M getting bored with it." Tim laughed. "So can I tell them you're stopping it?" And I snorted at him in mock anger. "Tim! You're slipping! You tell them you TOLD ME to stop it!"
Read 5 tweets
Jan 9
1) I've been looking for this piece of sophistry. Finally found it.

For good or ill, podcasts are influential.

But the @joerogan number exaggerates his audience compared to cable, by a factor of ten or a hundred or a thousand - we'll never know which
2) Rogan's "11,000,000" is the total number of people who listened to at least one minute of a 2-1/2 hour podcast.

Cable ratings are the average audience at ANY minute. So Carlson's number is essentially 3,250,000 PER MINUTE. Rogan's rating PER MINUTE would be 73,333.
3) THAT metric would wildly underreport Rohan's #

What matters is: how LONG the avg viewer/listener stays with the show/podcast. Countdown used to do a phenomenal number, around 35 minutes. If Rogan's 11m stay for 35 minutes each he'd be the equivalent of a mid-rated cable show
Read 4 tweets
Dec 29, 2021
1) What John accomplished, you know. What you may not know was that wherever he worked, he chose as his confidants the folks at the bottom of the totem pole. In 1981 when he was still "new" enough to take a side gig as a commentator at RKO Radio Network, his guy there was Larry
2) Larry literally pressed "play" and "record" and made sure the tape didn't get erased. If John needed to know if the commentary was any good, or if something our boss Charley Steiner wanted him to do was a good idea, he asked Larry - and did what Larry said. Once, I recorded...
3) a spoof of one of John's pieces, which he often recorded 10 at a time. Mine was about Lionel Taylor and included the phrase "I remember Lionel Taylor" said pretty much the way John would say it - but about 15 times. John found out and one day he said "hey, Kid. An impression?"
Read 9 tweets

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