CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - When I said that there's nobody to root for in this baseball impasse, I didn't mean all things were equal.
“The owners just have so much leverage,” Travis Sawchik, MLB reporter for FiveThirtyEight, told me during a Zoom meeting. “The wealth they have is so much greater. I don’t know if that’s understood by the public at large.”
In other words, it's not as simple as billionaires vs. millionaires. That said, both sides are guilty of blowing a golden opportunity this summer.
"It's a tremendous missed opportunity," Sawchik says. "If the owners and players could have come to an agreement weeks ago, the sport could have had all of June to itself."
A sport that needs to start appealing to a younger audience. The average baseball fan is in his or her 50s.
“Fans have always come back,” Sawchik said. " But I worry about the game attracting younger fans, and this was such an opportunity to gain younger fans.”
Instead, players like Trevor Bauer, who Sawchik went in-depth with in his book “The MVP Machine,” are on hold, finding creative ways to compete, as Bauer did with Jose Ramirez in the Arizona desert, while still speaking out.
“He’s obviously been very outspoken about Major League business, even before this,” Sawchik said. “He’s super-frustrated. He (Bauer) wants to play. So many players do. He’s a guy who has big career aspirations. Whether you think he’s crazy or not, he wants to win three Cy Young’s, accumulate wins and strike-out totals, and team success. You can’t do that if you’re not playing.”
The owners call the players on their “tell us when and where” mantra. Hey, better late than never.
“I do think they’ll play,” Sawchik said. “I do think they’ll play. I think the owners don’t want to play 80 games, I think they want to play 50 games, so I wonder if they’re just delaying, delaying, delaying until they get the season they want.”