ZoNotes: Nobody in His Right Mind, Would've Left Her...
Many thanks to the Harper-Razavi residence for yet another fine evening of festivities on Saturday night, as Armin Razavi and her beau Jordan head off to Virginia and VA Tech, respectively. Between the shisha and the hamburgers, I was thoroughly entertained.
Strike on Warning
Being America's most powerful union does not always guarantee great timing. Such has been the case of the baseball players' union, which has haggled for the duration of the summer with setting a strike date to avoid an owners-enforced lockout that could come after the completion of the World Series. Given the owners' collective weakness at the bargaining table, the real adversarial relationship here has been the union's own conscience versus its bookend ruthlessness in securing unity and benefits for its members. Union chief Donald Fehr, perhaps the most intelligent man in sport, must realize the delicate calculus involved in determining the path for the players. As it stands today, on 12 August, a narrow window is open. Setting a strike date for, say, 29 August leaves a 17-day window for the antagonists to negotiate a workable collective bargaining agreement. Given the hard absolute power that the union can muster, it is likely that any revenue-sharing or luxury tax option will form in a manner most favorable to the players. Plus, a 29 August date steers clear of any conflict with the month of September, primarily the 11th.
As an aside, I would like to make a point here. Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden invited relentless criticism from the sports media for his use of the "Let's Roll" phrase from Flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania on 9.11. Yet, these same sportswriters and commentators use the 11th as a hammer to bash the players for their rigid negotiating stance. Granted, I wouldn't advise a 9.11 strike date, nor am I high on the cancellation of the World Series. However, the owners' negotiating position has a bedrock position -- and that bedrock is 11 September. Exploitation, thy name is baseball.
Again, as I stressed earlier in this summer of malcontents, do not trust the owners. None of the current crop of baseball owners has an iota of creativity or innovation. Pro football's owners are at least divided between innovators/capitalist shock troops willing to shake the cherry tree (Jerry Jones in Dallas, Daniel Snyder in Washington, the Hunt family in Kansas City, Al Davis in Oakland) and staid traditionlists, patricians of the status quo (the Giants' Wellington Mara, the Ravens' Art Modell). Given the chance to set the agenda and the track of baseball, the owners could either A) ruin the game's competitive dynamics, ushering an era of tax-driven mediocrity, or B) ruin the game's antitrust exemption through a return to collusion and managerial excesses. When a group of headmen includes the conflicted-of-interest Bud Selig, White Sox caudillo Jerry Reinsdorf, and the financially elastic Mets ownership, one cannot be reassured.
This isn't about steroids testing -- the players were going to settle on some sort of testing regime, lest their credibility be undermined in the long run. When a sporting figure like Barry Bonds -- a man of jackass-ish persuasion -- is toasted as the game's greatest player after belting out 600 runs, hailed as a muscle-bound adonis of the diamond, the players realize their steel-plated durability. The sleek athletes of this game -- the Jeters, the A-Rods, the Glavines are the main draw every summer, not the stuffy suits with the cooked books.
The aforementioned Jordan coined this morning's Wordplay, commenting on a person he knows in our nation's defense community:
"He's like the Mel Kiper, Jr. -- of war!"