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Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.

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March 20, 2008 2:33 PM

Red Sox boycott

Posted by Geoff Baker

Interesting situation yesterday where the Boston Red Sox threatened to boycott their final pre-season game in Florida and then not get on a plane to Japan. All in favor of making sure coaches and support staff were paid extra for making the trip -- as they have been on past occasions in Asia.

The players have been roundly applauded for their stance, which secured an extra $20,000 per person that MLB has agreed to pay out of proceeds from the games in Japan. Only one problem. I'm with ESPN.com's Buster Olney on this one. The players agreed to all of this -- including the coaches not being paid -- when their own association hammered out a deal. I mean, is it too much to ask players to pay attention to what their own union is doing on their behalf?

And if the players missed that little detail? They should pay the difference out of their pockets. Not make MLB look bad by complaining about it after the fact. I mean, that's almost like newspapers signing a collective agreement with the reporters' unions -- ones that don't contain provisions for blogging on the side -- and then complaining when reporters refuse to blog for free.

Well...when some of them refuse, that is. But I digress.

The players deserve to be applauded for thinking of someone other than themselves for a change. But they should have paid attention a lot sooner. And owned up to their own mistake instead of blaming MLB after they agreed to a binding contract. My take, anyway. What's yours?

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Posted by Jack Rabbit

3:20 PM, Mar 20, 2008

The players association is corrupt, and its members are knuckleheads.This comes as a surprise?

Posted by seank

3:21 PM, Mar 20, 2008

Agreed, they should have noticed earlier. The thing hat gets me, however, is why they're being paid a substantial (by "normal" standards) sum of money to play in Japan?

I understand that there needs to be oversight so you don't have a team being jerked around playing in places they ordinarily do not, but $40,000? The league minimum (for players) already is hundreds of thousands of dollars, so to tack on an additional $40k for what the rest of us would be considered just a business trip doesn't make sense to me.

Am I missing something?

Posted by dfb

3:22 PM, Mar 20, 2008

With so much spin and obfuscation going on in every level of society it is very difficult to get to worked over almost anything. I can only speak for myself, but I don't trust the media, spokesmen for teams or organizations, individuals or really anyone to tell the unvarnished truth anymore. The problem is that there probably are a few who do, but it is so hard to tell the difference. I am very cynical when it comes to the "truth" anymore.

Posted by Brian in Bellingham

3:30 PM, Mar 20, 2008

I wonder how the A's feel, since their coaches were under the same situation, and it was the Red Sox players who wanted to boycott. More importantly, I wonder how the A's coaches feel about their players apparantly not standing up for them. The Red Sox players should have consulted with the A's players about this first.

How about that Cub's strength coach, who found out that his players smashed up his old Sentra, only to find out that they had purchased a brand new SUV for him. Hopefully they filmed their prank and then his reaction to the new SUV.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/spring2008/news/story?id=3302755

Posted by Mort

3:35 PM, Mar 20, 2008

The money is outrageous and offensive to begin with. It makes it hard to be a fan of the game anymore, which the spoiled-brat players will never, ever understand.

Posted by Sharon

3:59 PM, Mar 20, 2008

Another outlet (sorry, can't remember which one) reported the Boston players had originally been told the coaches would be paid; then the A's mentioned their coaches weren't paid; Boston players looked into it and got mad, thinking their original agreement had been changed, hence the threatened boycott.

I applaud them for standing up for the coaches and training staff. If those guys are only making 100K a year, a 20-40K bonus is a big deal. And if they thought they were getting it and made arrangements for family to travel with them, etc., then it's even a bigger deal. Teams don't pay for the families and a trip to Japan is no small chunk of change.

And if the original contract didn't say they'd be paid, they are bozos for not reading the fine print. But I still appreciate that they stood up for the guys making a whole lot less than the players.

Posted by Brian in Bellingham

4:03 PM, Mar 20, 2008

Mort, are you a fan of movies? Of music? Do you stop listening to music because they are multimillionaires? If you are a Beatles fan, are you turned off because Paul McCartney is worth 800 million dollars? Do you not go to movies because some actors get paid tens of millions of dollars?

Just curious. It just seems people get angry that ballplayers, who have careers of just a few years, get millions, but nobody cares that other entertainers, who can have careers that span many decades, get millions as well.

Posted by Snowbound

4:08 PM, Mar 20, 2008

I really have no problem with players standing up for coaches in what they think is right, whether they were wrong in their understanding of the agreement or not.

What I'm tired of is how they think of the impact on their inner-circle and not worry about the people that are actually paying them... the fans.

Was there any thank you or gratitude extended to the fans that went to yesterday's game. That sat there and waited.. probably spending hard earned money on concessions during the protest delay, or the fans that had other plans and had to leave early and miss portions of the game or the whole game because of the protest? Nah... the fans understand!

Posted by M's Fan in CO Exile

4:08 PM, Mar 20, 2008

Geoff, great to meet you the other day at Spring Training. Truly a class move meeting us like that, and we are glad you cover the team we love because - even if we don't agree on the details of everything - we know discussion about it is fair game and encouraged here. That's a lot more than many in the media offer us little guys.

On the topic at hand, I agree that it was a cool stand to take in favor of the coaches and support staff in principle. But I also agree that players need to start getting more involved in what the Player's Association is doing. From drug testing, to ridiculous appeals on no-brainer suspensions, etc., the players can't hide behind the Association for every stupid thing. They have the collective power to demand the Association act in a reasonable manner, and I won't blame the Union bosses alone for the many suspect positions the Association takes. In this case, the players need to learn about things being done and agreed to in their names. They could have made up the difference with their pocket change. That said, MLB should not have thrown out terms like this that seem to unfairly penalize those who get paid considerably less than the talent. Both sides should have recognized this as a problem at the table. My 2 cents, anyway.

Posted by jujay

4:49 PM, Mar 20, 2008

snowbound- I saw on tv that the red sox players went around signing autographs during the waiting time

Posted by fan down south

5:00 PM, Mar 20, 2008

I think expecting the players to know that is not entirely reasonable BUT, doesn't each clubhouse have a players representative? HE should have been able to say, hey guys, let's check with the union before we do this.

They may be thinking of someone other than themselves but it shows they think MLB simply prints money on demand.

Posted by manjini

5:03 PM, Mar 20, 2008

I with you on this one, Geoff. Agreeing to something as a group and then changing your mind when the thing is actually about to happen (because you are finally paying attention...) You know what that sounds like? My middle school students. But at least the thing they were standing up for was in aid to someone else.

Posted by nishimark

5:20 PM, Mar 20, 2008

I wish someone would pay me a third of a year's salary for a one-week business trip.

Posted by blah

6:39 PM, Mar 20, 2008

the players are full of shit...Their rocket high salaries are the reason a common working man can't afford to go to a freakin game. They sip on the best champagne money can buy, while we have to pay 8 bucks for a luckwarm crappy ass beer. Do they care? NO! F em!

Posted by JI

7:09 PM, Mar 21, 2008

I can't believe that peolpe rag on the players when you have owners who, despite being worth billions of dollars, will try to %$*( you out of your every last cent.

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