If it looks like collusion and sounds like collusion and acts like collusion, then isn’t it collusion?
Major League Baseball has pulled out this old reliable weapon against the Major League Baseball Players Association.
Baseball used collusion in the 1980s and they have, of course, wanted to break the Union from day one. Just about every business that deals with organized labor wants to “break the union,” but most aren’t as open with their assaults.
What baseball’s general managers did at their, now famous, group session this past week in Orlando clearly crossed the line of collusion.
If gathering every general manager in a room and asking them to tell the group their plans for the off-season and their team’s needs and what players might be available in trades isn't collusion, then what is?
The more Major League Baseball executives and general managers try to pass this off as some innocent exchange of information, the guiltier they look.
Rob Manfred, Major League Baseball’s executive vice president for labor relations told Murray Chass of The New York Times:
“Conversations about specific players, given the history of the industry, would be more problematic, but that didn’t happen. I know for a fact that there was no discussion about specific players.”
Boston general manager Theo Epstein, who co-chaired the event with Florida’s Larry Beinfest, told USA Today a different story:
“It’s increased our efficiency tremendously and has saved us a lot of time. Some teams are specific; others are more guarded…”
So were specifics discussed or not?
According to Chass, Epstein was quoted as telling the group he is trying to resign Mike Lowell, the Red Sox free-agent third baseman.
That sounds pretty specific, especially if you are Mike Lowell.
The collusion case in the 1980s was settled without anyone admitting a violation of the clause that says clubs shall not act in concert with other clubs and players shall not act in concert with other players.
It doesn’t look like this case will be wrapped up as neatly.