Addressing all 61 players in big league camp, new Twins manager Paul Molitor said that electronics usage among players in the Twins’ clubhouse would be limited, reports Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Players will not be allowed to use electronic devices 30 minutes before first pitch and the restriction lasts until the final out of the game.
The ban was inspired by an observation by bullpen manager Eddie Guardado during spring training last year, when he noticed that the pitchers had their heads buried in their cell phones, not talking to their teammates.
“I said, ‘Hot Rod [McCormick, equipment manager], look at this,’ “Guardado recalled. ” ‘Nobody’s talking to anybody.’ “
Pitcher Tommy Milone, acquired by the Twins from the Athletics at the trade deadline last season, is in favor of the electronics ban. “Now if there’s a rule in place where you can’t do that anymore, it forces you to focus on other things,” Milone said. “Maybe not just talking with your teammates, but it probably forces you to get out there and get some work done, maybe a little bit of extra work to do something other than be on your phone.”
Though the Twins have gotten younger at many positions, the additions of veterans Torii Hunter and Ervin Santana along with the continued presence of Joe Mauer should prove helpful to Molitor in enforcing his rules.
MLBPA player representative Max Scherzer sent out a short statement late Wednesday night regarding the ongoing negotiations between the owners and the union. On Tuesday, ownership proposed a “sliding scale” salary structure on top of the prorated pay cuts the players already agreed to back in March. The union rejected the proposal, with many worrying that it would drive a wedge in the union’s constituency.
Scherzer is one of eight players on the MLBPA executive subcommittee along with Andrew Miller, Daniel Murphy, Elvis Andrus, Cory Gearrin, Chris Iannetta, James Paxton, and Collin McHugh.
After discussing the latest developments with the rest of the players there’s no reason to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions. We have previously negotiated a pay cut in the version of prorated salaries, and there’s no justification to accept a 2nd pay cut based upon the current information the union has received. I’m glad to hear other players voicing the same viewpoint and believe MLB’s economic strategy would completely change if all documentation were to become public information.
Indeed, aside from the Braves, every other teams’ books are closed, so there has been no way to fact-check any of the owners’ claims. Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts, for example, recently said that 70 percent of the Cubs’ revenues come from “gameday operations” (ticket sales, concessions, etc.). But it went unsubstantiated because the Cubs’ books are closed. The league has only acknowledged some of the union’s many requests for documentation. Without supporting evidence, Ricketts’ claim, like countless others from team executives, can only be taken as an attempt to manipulate public sentiment.
Early Thursday morning, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that the MLBPA plans to offer a counter-proposal to MLB in which the union would suggest a season of more than 100 games and fully guaranteed prorated salaries. It seems like the two sides are quite far apart, so it may take longer than expected for them to reach an agreement.