Listen: Melk & Buzzcano Criticize Players Union for Not Mobilizing Fans During Baseball Lockout

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfried and Players Association president Tony Clark (AP).

Last week, I went on Bob Buzzcano’s podcast “Green & Red” to discuss the missteps of the Major League Players’ Association in the ongoing lockout of baseball players. We focus on the need for baseball fans to mobilize in massive numbers to support baseball players, given the importance of baseball as a cultural symbol. 

At a time when Americans are quitting their jobs in record numbers, we talk about connecting the struggle of baseball players who can’t choose where they work and live with the struggles of ordinary Americans. Currently, Major League Baseball teams can have exclusive control over a player for up to 7 years in the minors and 6 years in the big leagues. (See our story “In the Era of Great Resignation, Baseball Players Want to Choose Where They Work.”)

We discuss why the more old school leaders of the Players’ Association are hesitant to mobilize fans on behalf of players. Instead, the Players’ Association is focused on cutting a deal at the bargaining table without a massive mobilization of fans. 

We also criticize the Players’ Association for not connecting the fight of baseball players to the struggles of other workers in the country at the moment. I call on the left to be more engaged in the baseball labor struggle because baseball players could inspire other workers to strike. 

Give a full listen to the 30-minute podcast here

About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter who covered everything from Lula & the Brazilian labor movement to major league baseball. He spent years covering union organizing in the South for The Guardian and was labeled by the New York Times as an "abrasive gadfly" for exposing within the labor movement. Raised in a UE union family in Pittsburgh, Elk was illegally for union organizing at Politico in 2015 and used his NLRB settlement to start the crowd-funded Payday Report. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh and is fluent in both Pittsburghese and Portuguese, which he learned when attending journalism school at PUC-Rio de Janerio. Email: [email protected]

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