The MLBPA is going to be filing a grievance against baseball for colluding against Barry Bonds this season. I'd expressed doubts about this before, simply because I thought the owners were too intelligent and/or too self-interested to collude against Bonds. I also felt that, unlike previous collusion scandals, the potential gain was far, far too low to offset the risk of legal action.
But never underestimate major league baseball owners.
The union filing the grievance isn't a huge surprise, but there is a claim that they have evidence of the collusion. That's the part that I thought would be the most difficult, but it's possible that the players have found something.
The players have agreed with the owners to delay the actual filing of the grievance. This was likely done for two reasons: 1) Bud Selig hates any big announcements during October that might detract from the postseason. Of course, the announcement of the delay itself is a big announcement, so so much for that. And 2) The owners want time to prepare a settlement. The last time that collusion was alleged by the union, the owners (wisely) chose to settle rather than to battle it out and reveal all the details. My guess is the latter. If the owners really have been caught in the act, Selig is smart enough to just settle it without any admission of guilt, as they did last time. All of this depends on just how much dirt the player's union has.
I'm surprised at this. Not on any moral grounds (it's hard to shock me there), but purely on a practical level. Were the owners really so spiteful toward Bonds as to do this? Or were they honestly afraid that his presence would somehow damage the game? Baseball attendance has been going up every year for some time, and it only fell off this year, with no Bonds to blame (the exact same trend occurred in San Francisco; see my previous blog).
I fear that the owners are the only people in the world (other than sportswriters) who see Bonds as a "cancer" on the game. I can't think of any other reason they would collude against him other than 1) spite or 2) fear, and neither one is a very good reason to risk a negative legal judgment and financial penalty. Maybe there's a third option that I'm not picking up on. Hell, maybe thinking logically is what separates us in the first place.
I will say, in all sincerity, that I'm disappointed in Bud Selig if this is true, and he knew about it.