Each year the players’ union sends its officials on a tour of all 30 big league camps and this morning was the Steinbrenner Field stop. After meeting with the Yankees for about two hours, union head Michael Weiner talked with reporters in the hallway outside the home clubhouse.
My impression is that for the average fan, the machinations of the union/owners relationship isn’t exactly riveting. And if the current NFL situation is any barometer, the only thing most fans care about is whether the games will be played or not.
Along those lines, Weiner said he was optimistic about reaching a new agreement with management before the CBA expires at the end of this year, but was quick to add he is ready for anything. “Just this week I’ve seen a general manager talking about a salary cap and I’ve seen a national baseball writer talking about rumblings of contraction,” he said. “Are we optimistic in a sense? Yes. But do we take anything for granted? Absolutely not.”
To me, the best indicator that there won’t be a real threat of a work stoppage for baseball is that there isn’t a real hot-button issue between the sides this time. In 1994, the salary cap was out front; in 2001-02, it was all about drug testing. This time, “it doesn’t appear that anyone is trying to re-invent the wheel,” Weiner said.