MLBPA negotiator Bruce Meyer proving to be a problem for owners


In September 2018, the Major League Baseball Players Association hired a new chief negotiator, attorney Bruce Meyer. Meyer notably used to work with the NHL Player’s Union under former MLBPA executive director Donald Fehr. He has largely flown under the radar since joining the MLBPA.

At the time of his hiring, the union was under some stress as the players began to reap what they had sown in negotiations over the current collective bargaining agreement. The players’ side gave up some big concessions and didn’t, in the grand scheme of things, get a whole lot in return. What they did gain was the stuff of luxury, such as more days off and scheduling changes to accommodate travel.

In the time since, the MLBPA has grown some backbone, most noticeably during negotiations with the league over an agreement that would have replaced the temporary March agreement for baseball during the pandemic. The union held its ground and even won some key P.R. battles and public favor, which have historically always been difficult, and the league was forced to implement a season without a new agreement. It would be foolish to attribute the MLBPA’s recent success entirely to Meyer’s involvement, but it certainly hasn’t hurt. Some owners are starting to notice.

On Tuesday, Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune published details of a conversation with Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler. Among other things, Fowler bemoans Meyer’s presence at the table, saying that he is the reason for the acrimony between the owners and the union. Fowler said, “We had the same people on our negotiating group that we had when we did the last CBA. They had someone new who had a different view of how things should be done. That created a number of problems. We often thought we were negotiating with ourselves, and that’s not a good thing to do.”

If you’re Meyer, or any of the people responsible for bringing him into the MLBPA, Fowler’s words can only be taken as the highest of compliments. Not only did Fowler mention him by name, but he admitted that Meyer got the owners to negotiate against themselves. Sounds like an elite negotiator. And it sounds like the MLBPA is back on the right track.

Royals outfielder Gordon to retire after 14 seasons

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Kansas City Royals outfielder Alex Gordon, the former first-round pick whose rollercoaster career took him from near bust to All-Star and Gold Glove winner, announced Thursday he will retire after the season.

Gordon was the second overall pick in the 2005 first-year player draft following a standout career at Nebraska, where he won the Golden Spikes Award as the best amateur in baseball. He made his big league debut two years later and, after a few years shuttling back and forth to the minors, moved from third base to the outfield and finally found success.

He wound up playing his entire 14-year career in Kansas City, joining only George Brett and Frank White as position players with that much longevity with the franchise. He heads into a weekend four-game series against Detroit with the third-most walks (682), fourth-most homers (190), fifth-most doubles (357) and sixth-most games played (1,749) in club history.

The three-time All-Star also holds the dubious distinction of being the Royals’ career leader in getting hit by pitches.

While he never quite hit with the kind of average the Royals hoped he would, Gordon did through sheer grit turn himself into one of the best defensive players in the game. He is the only outfielder to earn seven Gold Gloves in a nine-year span, a number that trails only White’s eight for the most in franchise history, and there are enough replays of him crashing into the outfield wall at Kauffman Stadium or throwing out a runner at the plate to run for hours.

Gordon won the first of three defensive player of the year awards in 2014, when he helped Kansas City return to the World Series for the first time since its 1985 championship. The Royals wound up losing to the Giants in a seven-game thriller, but they returned to the Fall Classic the following year and beat the Mets in five games to win the World Series.

It was during the 2015 that Gordon hit one of the iconic homers in Royals history. His tying shot off Mets closer Jeurys Familia in Game 1 forced extra innings, and the Royals won in 14 to set the tone for the rest of the World Series.

Gordon signed a one-year contract to return this season, and he never considered opting out when the coronavirus pandemic caused spring training to be halted and forced Major League Baseball to play a dramatically reduced 60-game schedule.


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