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Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright recently did an interview with InsideSTL.com’s Tim McKernan, which made headlines because the right-hander said, “Unless something changes, there’s going to be a strike. 100 percent.” Wainwright added, “I’m just worried people are going to walk out midseason.”
Baseball’s ongoing struggle between labor and ownership has hit a fever pitch recently as the free agent market continues to stagnate. Among players to have spoken up this offseason are Jeff Samardzija, Justin Verlander, Collin McHugh, Dallas Keuchel, Jake Arrieta, Evan Longoria, and Buster Posey.
Wainwright took to Twitter on Saturday afternoon to expound on his thoughts. Here they are, in chronological order:
Indeed, Wainwright responded to a few people on Twitter who read his series of tweets. This was first:
Wainwright’s comments are thoughtful and worth consideration. Most strikingly, he’s one of the few major leaguers to have directly acknowledged that minor leaguers are severely underpaid and, in fact, exploited. As has been mentioned here, the MLBPA has been happy to ignore this, but fighting for a higher standard of living for minor leaguers would lend credibility when players and agents complain about the likes of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado not getting 10-year contracts worth $300-400 million. Which, by the way, they should.
I appreciated that Wainwright fought back against the thought that player salaries drive ticket prices. It’s a commonly-held belief that is flatly incorrect. Teams set the prices to increase revenues, then when revenues increase, players ask for a commensurate slice of the pie. If player salaries truly drove ticket prices, we would see the cheapest tickets among rebuilding teams, but that hasn’t been the case. For instance, according to CBS News in 2016, Dodger Stadium was among the cheapest places to watch a major league game. The Dodgers had an Opening Day payroll of nearly $250 million that season.