I got 30 minutes with former MLB commish Fay Vincent today on CCK. I wish I had 30 hours. Dude is so goddam smart and obviously coming from a place of experience. While he was very careful to put out the disclaimer that he is no longer directly involved and cant say anything with certainty, there was a few fascinating bytes from this conversation that I think was more interesting than anything I've heard in 3 months of discussion amid Corona Virus:
1) Former MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner was focused on getting players equity stakes in their franchises. The growing sentiment around the league was entities like MLB.com, regional networks, and streaming rights were all massive, massive money makers from which players felt they should be seeing profits. Players realized that the Yankees could turn around and sell their team for $8-10 billion and that the players wouldnt see a dime of that money. Despite being paid upper echelon salaries, they were being taxed at the working class level, and that they were interested in obtaining a piece of the pie that would be taxed as a capital gain. Basically, despite being wealthy, players were fed up with being treated like the average working man and wanted to be treated the same way billionaire owners are. And the way this was going to happen was by Michael Weiner getting them a piece of equity in all the ancillary revenue streams. Well, Michael Weiner (Who Vincent described as "brilliant") died suddenly at the age of 51. Tony Clark was unanimously voted as his successor, but Vincent stated he didnt believe Clark was "sophisticated" enough to get that done.
Sounds like for the foreseeable future, the prospects of players getting their piece of the pie died with Michael Weiner
2) He believes owners will have to eventually open their books. Not only because it only makes business sense that they will eventually have to a split with players, but how can you agree to X% of an unknown number?? But also because the Players Union is incredibly strong and has shown a willingness to shut down before and wont hesitate to do it again. I was stunned to hear him say this as casually as he did. I would have thought theres NO WAY IN HELL those owners would ever give you a look behind the curtain, but he seemed to think its the only logical progression. Forget about Corona Virus and salvaging the 2020 season - if owners agree to show their financials, the landscape of baseball is forever changed after that. Give these players, who are the main attraction on the field, full public transparency and leverage, and theres no way they dont finish what Michael Weiner started.
In addition to those bombshells he also discussed how the collusion case from 1990 is mainly responsible for the shitty relationship between players and owners and how he believes theres a reasonably good chance there will not be baseball in 2020.
Man said more in 5 questions than any sports writer, player, or executive has said in years. Fascinating stuff.