Wednesday, March 19, 2008


The day they are scheduled to fly to Japan to open the regular season against the A’s, the players have voted not to go in the wake of a dispute centering on a $40,000 stipend that was to be paid to coaches as part of the negotiated agreement to make the trip.

I realize it’s hard to feel sympathetic toward people who consider $40,000 a reasonable stipend. And Terry Francona’s assertion that $40,000 represents two-fifths of some coaches’ salaries doesn’t help on that score when you realize that means those coaches are making $100,000 a year. The financial chasm between players/coaches and fans is way too big, and teams should realize that whining to the press about $40,000 stipends isn’t going to generate a lot of sympathy among people scraping out a living on a lot less than what these guys stand to make — on top of their six-figure salaries — in roughly a week.

However, it’s not fair to agree to pay the stipend and then renege at the 11th hour. If these guys were promised the stipends in return for agreeing to go to Japan, they should receive them. If they don’t, they are right to refuse to go.

The players also voted not to play today’s exhibition game against the Blue Jays. But the players have taken the field at City of Palms Park in Ft. Myers and the game is under way, so it appears that some agreement has been reached. Details to follow.

UPDATE: The issue appears resolved, and the teams are going to Japan, though nobody is saying much about the details at this point.

UPDATE 2: The Red Sox coaches are getting the same $40,000 as the players.
In the end, the Red Sox's coaching and support staff received assurance that — as the players all along intended — they would be compensated for making the weeklong Japan trip, each earning roughly the same $40,000 the players are each receiving as an appearance fee.

"Everyone connected with the trip will be fairly compensated," Major League Baseball spokesman Rich Levin said.

The Red Sox then played the game after a 64-minute delay, and the trip to Japan for the season-opening series against the Athletics proceeded.

The players had believed since October that the coaches would be compensated, per their instructions in a conference call mapping out the trip's logistics. Somewhere in the intervening five months, the line of communication broke down, and only the players for both the Red Sox and A's were earmarked for compensation.

By essentially holding the exhibition game against the Jays on ESPN hostage, the players forced MLB to move from a stance of no pay, to half of the players' demand, to the final agreement, with the Red Sox fronting $600,000 to pay the stipend, with assurance from MLB that it would later defray the cost.

"We stuck to the number we thought was correct, which was equal pay [for the coaches and staff]," Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell said. "It was nothing until they found out we weren't going to play and we were serious about it.
Ah, the power of organized labor. Is it any wonder Republicans hate it so?

Labels: ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

No more boycott the Bosox are off to Japan.

Mrs. S

3/19/2008 03:26:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home