Yesterday Bud Selig, when talking about baseball’s recent harmonious relationship with the players’ union, said “In American labor history it’s probably as bad a relationship as ever existed.”
Rob Neyer — who knows a few things about history — wasn’t going to sit for that. He detailed a handful of labor disputes that, with all due respect to Bud “Abner Doubleday, in conjunction with the Great Gazoo and the saucer people, invented baseball” Selig, were a tad worse than the 1994-95 strike. I won’t spoil it for you because I want you to read it yourself, but here’s a hint: unless the owners employed Baldwin-Felts agents to crack picketing players’ skulls when none of us were looking, the baseball strike doesn’t make a top 1000 list of ugly labor disputes in American history.
I think history is going to be more kind to Bud Selig than a lot of us are on a day-to-day basis, because he’s done a pretty good job with the broad strokes. But man, when you think that baseball has been run by judges and senators and generals and comparative literature professors cum Ivy League presidents, it’s kind of galling to be reminded that it’s currently being run by a used car salesman who lacks even a basic grasp on history.
Jon Morosi reports that that the Detroit Tigers will make all veterans available via trade if they’re still under .500 by the end of June.
This was the position they entered the offseason with — everyone is available! — but they ended up gearing up for one more push with the core of veterans they currently employ. It was not a bad move, I don’t think. With the exception of the Indians, the AL Central is mostly down, or at least appeared to be over the winter, with the Royals in decline and the Twins and White Sox seemingly a few years away from contention. The Twins, however, have been fantastic and the Tigers have mostly underachieved.
So we’re back to this. Which veterans the Tigers can reasonably unload, however, is an open question. J.D. Martinez is in his walk year, so while tradable, he may not bring back a big return. Guys like Justin Upton, Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera either have very large contracts or no-trade protection.
The end of June is still a while from now, of course, and while the Tigers are under .500, they’re only 4.5 games behind the Twins. But they had better turn it around or else it sounds like the front office is going to turn the page.
As you get ready for Memorial Day weekend and whatever it entails for you and yours, take some time to read an excellent article from Mike Bates over at The Hardball Times.
The article is about Eddie Grant. You probably never heard of him. He was a journeyman infielder — often a backup — from 1905 through 1915. If you have heard of him, it was likely not for his baseball exploits, however: it was because he was the first active baseball player to die in combat, killed in the Battle of the Argonne Forest in October 1915.
Michael tells us about more than Grant’s death, however. He provides a great overview of his life and career. And notes that Grant didn’t even have to go to war if he didn’t want to. He was 34, had the chance to coach or manage and had a law degree and the potential to make a lot of money following his baseball career. He volunteered, however, for both patriotic and personal reasons. And it cost him his life.
Must-read stuff indeed. Especially this weekend.