Transcendental Bloviation

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Yesterday, the House Committee on "Government Reform" spent two hours delivering tongue-lashings to the leader of a private industry union, threatening federal legislation if the union's collective bargaining proposals were not to the legislators' liking.

"Are you and the players living in such a rarefied atmosphere that you do not see this as a transcendent issue?" [Sen. John] McCain asked. "Don't you get it? Don't you get it?" […]

"The patience of this body, reflective of its constituents, has reached an end."

The management side of the collective bargaining process, unsurprisingly, welcomed Congress's help.

My four briefs on the side of baseball's beleaguered millionaires: George Bush vs. Barry Bonds, Jock Sniffing, 'Roid Rage, and The Shame of the Steroid Hunt.

NEXT: Political Devolution: From Goldwater to Rove

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  1. The Players Association isn’t really a union.

    And they certainly didn’t show much solidarity with the Umpire’s Union when they went on strike – every single major league player crossed their line.

    So the “we shall not be moved” angle probably isn’t going to get you very far.

  2. I thought McCain was gonna pop a vessel. Has he been tested? Lots of rage there.

  3. I’m an admirer of McCain’s, and I was sickened at what the Republicans did to him in the 2000 primary – I really wanted to vote for him for Pres. That said, he does have a serious case of Senatoritis. It’s not accompanied by the same level of gross pomposity and banal blather as other Senators, but still, he’s got the I’m A Member of the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body And You Better Do As I Say, Dammit bug real bad.

  4. House or Senate? Can we at least keep it straight in the same sentence?

  5. Do I understand the stance of the current administration and senate leadership correctly?

    1. Disaster response and recovery in major metropolitan areas is not the job of federal government.

    2. Mandating an uninterrupted supply of professional baseball is the job of federal government.

  6. joe — How is the Player’s Union “not really a union”?

  7. I like the content here, but can you do anything about that Master Your Own Bodyweight guy? He really creeps me out, flashing up there all the time while I’m trying to read. (Sorry for OT comment.)

  8. Hold thy tongues – didn’t you know he’s a war hero?

  9. Arizona is Goldwater country. Is there any hope at all that someone can take his Senate seat by campaigning against his big-government intrusions into professional sports or his free speech-hindering campaign-finance law?

  10. Just checking my copy of the Constitution here to see where regulating baseball is covered. Hmmm, this may take a while.

  11. JP-The solution to your problem is at http://www.mozilla.org. Install Firefox and adblock. Problem solved.

  12. And they certainly didn’t show much solidarity with the Umpire’s Union when they went on strike – every single major league player crossed their line.

    Would a player strike in support of the umpires be legal under Taft-Hartley?

  13. McCain is a terrible bully who never met a good idea he didn’t think was worth forcing on people who disagree.

    The thing about bullies is that while they’re despised by the people they’re bullying, they’re often beloved by people who agree with them, which gives them an electoral advantage over principled non-bullies who are beloved by the minority of noninterventionists and otherwise mostly ignored.

    The Pastor Niem?ller ethic is incredibly difficult to convey unless people believe that they’re one of the next groups to get come for.

  14. Arizona is Goldwater country. Is there any hope at all that someone can take his Senate seat by campaigning against his big-government intrusions into professional sports or his free speech?hindering campaign-finance law?

    McCain won at 70% in last year’s election. I’ve lived in AZ since 2001, but I didn’t even realize he was running — I don’t recall seeing a Vote for McCain sign anywhere during the election season. I think the only way he’s going anywhere is if he moves up (prez) or moves out (pops one of those blood vessels in his head).

    I did send him an email saying I’d never vote for him if he didn’t reverse his position on campaign finance, but I never got a reply (though I do seem to be followed at times by shadowy figures in the night…).

  15. War hero or not, that friggin’ chipmunk is really getting on my nerves.

  16. Doug – yeah, forget about it, McCain is in for the duration. I’m glad we have Flake here in AZ, as he’s the only one besides Ron Paul (in all of politics, seemingly) that has a fiscally conservative bone in his body and I think he’s actually read the constitution.

    McCain is like old people who think they can be rude and demand whatever they want just because they’re old. War hero? So? What have you done for me lately? Oh, McCain-Feingold? Sweet, that’s what I thought. No thanks.

  17. jp,

    If you don’t want to install anything, just hit the ‘ESC’ key and the ad animation will stop.

  18. Matt,

    The “Players Union” endorses – even mandates – individual negotiations for salaries between management and its members.

  19. Isn’t pro baseball a government-sanctioned monopoly? If so, doesn’t pro baseball have to listen to the government whine about its practices if baseball wants to keep out competition?

  20. Isn’t pro baseball a government-sanctioned monopoly? If so, doesn’t pro baseball have to listen to the government whine about its practices if baseball wants to keep out competition?

  21. Joe — That doesn’t disqualify it from being a union at all. Also, the Union *does* negotiate blanket contractual things like minimum salaries, amount of service required before the options of salary arbitration & free agency, etc.

    There have been many who have argued that, contra you, the MLB Player’s Union is in fact one of the most successful unions in the country.

  22. It does in my book, Matt. They’re more like a trade association these days.

    Though, once upon a time, they actually were a real union, banding together against an ownership cartel – and they were very successful.

  23. Why do the politicians think keeping a million dollar cry baby baseball player from poppin roids is of any concern to the public is beyond me.

    How about fixing/getting rid of Social Security first. Perhaps the death tax would be a more appropriate course for debate. But roids in sports!!!! Get a damn clue already that no one cares what these people do to themselves. For some reason I am much more inclined to care about those things the government already does in affecting me and my family.

    I loved to play sports as a kid and still do yet I never held any pro players in such a high regard to begin with after all they are just playing a damn game.

    Any kid who is so weak and feable minded as to allow a pro players use of roids to affect their judgement is destined to find something somewhere to fuck him up down the road of life anyway. Why try to prevent Darwin from taking his dew course with these individuals?

    This overwhelming need our politicians have to be everyones nanny is nothing more than a form of vote farming. Just the same as the welfare state fertilizes the fields of votes for the politician farmers. Those who can protect the stupid from themselves will have appeared to be god like to the lemmings they save. Only problem is as with welfare the lemmings begin breeding and multiply. Oh and they get to vote!

    Once the lemmings with their hands out and asses to protect from themselves out number the people who work and are accoutable to and for themselves its game over. As of now we are in the Top of the 9th inning.

  24. joe,

    So what changed to make them not a real union anymore?

  25. jc, the Mafia moved on to casinos

  26. “Just checking my copy of the Constitution here to see where regulating baseball is covered. Hmmm, this may take a while.”

    Back when the Supreme Court ruled that baseball was exempt from the antitrust laws, one of the reasons was that playing ball isn’t interstate commerce. Federal Baseball Club v. National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, 259 U.S. 200 (1922) (Holmes, J.). So if the owners now want the feds to regulate labor relations in MLB, then I’m sure they’ll be willing to give up their antitrust immunity. Right?

  27. Why not? The NFL doesn’t have antitrust immunity.

    That’s the weirdest thing about the whole MLB/Congress thing. Congress is always holding this exemption thing up as their justification and everyone nods sagely and I’m left wondering why the hell the MLB doesn’t just choose to be un-exempted. It works for every other sports league in the country. It’s not like the Northern League would up and take over. It’s not like the draft would end, since the NHL still seems to have one.

    Someone please explain it to me. I can only assume that the exemption is worth a few million to the owners somehow, and so they put up with the bloviating.

  28. Good question, sidereal. Since MLB has the immunity and NFL, NBA, and NHL don’t, does that mean that the other leagues should be in fear of the gov’t coming after them as monopolies? The NFL surely doesn’t have any competition. They don’t even have minor league teams. Now at least the NBA has the CBA and the NHL has a large number of minor league teams to ‘compete’ against.

    But I would like to hear a knowledgable answer to that question.

  29. Not the anti-trust crap again! Geez, if there’s one pro sport that IS a monopoly, it’s football. I mean, do you know where your nearest minor league football team is in the US? (And don’t give me the “college” answer, those players are not professionals even though they may get stuff under the table; they certianly don’t get W2’s for playing the game.)

    Everybody knows what minor league baseball is, most people have heard of minor league hockey, and there are a few minor league basketball leagues around. I mean, no other pro sport has more professional teams outside of its highest level than baseball so how in the world could it be a trust? Sure there’s agreements in place with several of the minor leagues, but there are at least four completely unaffiliated leagues, many of which have teams in the same markets MLB has teams.

    MLB owners may be scum of the earth, but to be a trust they actually have to be shutting out all competition. Just because they can afford the best players doesn’t mean anything as far as being a trust is concerned.

  30. Lowdog and me on the same page….

    But the anti-trust exemption isn’t the reason Congress is coming down on them, because MLB obviously would have already told them to remove the exemption then. Unless they have to prove in court that they aren’t a trust to get the exemption removed (which seems really fucked up).

  31. “do you know where your nearest minor league football team is in the US?”

    We have one here, and of course, there’s the Arena League, Arena League II, etc.

    And of course there was the ability for the USFL to sue the NFL, although they didn’t really ‘win’. Baseball is exempt from even getting sued.

  32. And to think a little bit of legal arm twisting would have allowed XFL to be around to this day. Fuck.

  33. I miss He Hate Me.

  34. The “Players Union” endorses – even mandates – individual negotiations for salaries between management and its members.

    I agree! Just because some folk’s can’t do better than the ability of the(naturally talented)(privileged) does not mean that they don’t deserve the power of a(collective bargaining committee)union to give them(to take) what they want(deserve!).

  35. Thinking back to the Constitution, picture this: the framers sitting around contemplating the Federal Government spending ANY TIME AT ALL discussing the rules that should govern suspensions of players in a baseball league.

    May I respectfully suggest that, if such a subject had ever been considered, they would have thought such a possibility so ludicrous as to not need any thought at all, ie. they would not have thought that there was even a possibility of that ever happening.

  36. I don’t know who you’re “agreeing” with, Kris. I didn’t opine about the wisdom of the situation one way or the other.

    Keep looking for those commies under the bed, though. They’re there somewhere.

  37. Aren’t MLB’s consumers also Congress’s and the Senate’s constituents? If this issue is such a big deal with the constituents wouldn’t attendance and ratings figures show this? Hasn’t the market already established that the people don’t care about steroids? Shouldn’t the Legislative branch have priorities that at least generally reflect if not exactly mirror their constituent’s own? And didn’t they already dig a deep enough hole buy being made fools of by a bunch of jocks on national TV during the previous hearings?

  38. “If this issue is such a big deal with the constituents wouldn’t attendance and ratings figures show this? Hasn’t the market already established that the people don’t care about steroids?”

    Not if the response to the scandal has convinced the public that the problem is going to be addressed.

    I think the booing Raphael Palmeiro has been getting in city to city might count as evidence of what the fans think.

  39. I’m quite confident there are no commies under my bed cuz I check every night before I go to sleep. I did catch one behind the sofa once though. (I sure showed that dirty pinko)
    😉

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