Roger Goodell, Commissioner of the NFL, speaks at a news conference announcing the Head Health Initiative, a collaboration between GE and the NFL, in New York

One man’s solution to the Baltimore scheduling conflict: total capitulation by the weak and feeble baseball people!

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There are those who speak truth to power. Then there are those who cover the powerful and revel in that power as if it is some extension of their own power. Man, those folks are truly pathetic:

When it comes to being a sheriff – or, at least, playing one on TV – Roger Goodell has few peers in professional sports … And with all due (dis)respect to the displaced national pastime, it’s time for the Sheriff of Park Avenue to walk all over Selig, his MLB counterpart.

That’s Yahoo!’s football writer Michael Silver, whose argument for solving the Orioles/Ravens scheduling conflict mentioned earlier today is basically thus:

  • The NFL is strong and popular.
  • Major League Baseball is weak an unpopular.
  • The powerful and popular NFL should do whatever the hell it wants to and ignore the puny MLB.
  • When it does so, no courtesy should be extended MLB. Rather, Roger Goodell should flex his popular and powerful muscles.

I’m not even exaggerating. Check this out:

Does Selig seriously think he’s going to win this battle against the NFL, a league which dwarfs his in popularity and which has conspicuously refrained from flaunting its superiority? … The NFL could easily bully baseball, but for the most part, that doesn’t happen.

He ultimately tells Bud Selig that he should “take some money from Uncle Roger’s slush fund” move the game and come watch the Ravens game himself because that’s what God and Nature intended. And that the NFL should make no accommodations to baseball because, well, why should it?

Know what? In this instance I imagine something like that actually will happen. I bet the O’s-White Sox game gets moved and money is exchanged. But that’s sort of beside the point.

Because at the moment I’m mostly amazed at how many jollies this apparently professional journalist is getting by being on the same side of an issue as the Great and Mighty Roger Goodell, and I’m wondering how being enthralled with that power translates to his critical analysis of whatever else the NFL chooses to do.

Are the current Collective Bargaining Agreement talks too friendly?

Scott Boras
Associated Press
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Baseball’s current collective bargaining agreement expires on December 1. There have been comments from both commissioner Rob Manfred and MLBPA director Tony Clark suggesting that progress was being made and there has been no suggestion thus far that there are sticking points which could lead to a work stoppage. Heck, even a few acrimonious rounds of negotiation before it’s all said and done seem unlikely.

That’s good news for fans, but it’s not making certain agents happy. Smooth labor sailing likely means a new CBA that is pretty close in most terms to the current CBA. Agents — especially agents who represent veterans — don’t like that because they believe that the current rules regarding free agency, draft pick compensation, luxury taxes and qualifying offers penalize the players they represent. Today Ken Rosenthal has a story about that anger, talking to both anonymous agents and super agent Scott Boras about how baseball’s middle class is disappearing and baseball’s median salary goes lower and lower.

Major League Baseball counters that while the median salary is going down, the average salary is going up. And baseball is right about that. But it’s also the case that the average is propped up by a handful of superstar contracts while the somewhat less lucrative but still nice mid-level contracts for mid-level veterans are disappearing. The financial landscape of the game is morphing into one with a small upper class with nine-figure contracts and a large lower class of pre-arbitration players and veterans on shorter, smaller deals, squeezing the old veteran middle class out of existence.

Sound familiar?

Baseball, of course, is not the American economy. There are some good reasons why those mid-level contracts have gone away. Specifically, because they tended not to be very good deals for the teams who signed them. At the same time, baseball is far better able to tweak its rules to spread the wealth than the U.S. government can, and those rules — like the qualifying offer and luxury tax — have had a harsh impact on a lot of players.

There’s not a clear answer on what the best system is for free agents, draft pick compensation, draft bonus pools and the like actually is. I tend to favor the fewest restrictions on a player’s right to negotiate freely with teams, but I’ll also acknowledge that there is a less than perfect market at play in baseball given revenue disparities between teams and the need to maximize, within reason, competitive balance. It’s not an easy trick even before you get into the B.S. team owners tend to spew about pocketbook matters.

But it’s also the case that an all-too-friendly relationship between the union and the league — one in which a given set of rules is rubberstamped from CBA to CBA — is not an ideal situation. No one wants acrimony, but the fact is that the players and the union are slicing up a pie. If the person you’re slicing up a pie with is all-too-happy to keep slicing it the same way, it probably means that they’re getting a bigger piece than you. Maybe, if it’s your job to grab a bigger piece?

The agents Rosenthal talked to, who represent a good chunk of MLBPA membership, certainly think the union should be doing some more grabbing. I wonder if their clients do too.

Four baseballs autographed by Jose Fernandez wash ashore

MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 03: Jose Fernandez #16 of the Miami Marlins looks on during a game against the New York Mets at Marlins Park on August 3, 2015 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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This is just . . . ugh.

WSVN-TV in Miami reports that a black bag containing Jose Fernandez’s checkbook and four baseballs signed by him washed ashore on Miami Beach. Probably a bag to keep stuff dry while out on the water.

The bag was given to a lifeguard. Hopefully the bag finds its way back to Fernandez’s family quickly.