The Major League Baseball Players' Union reacted indignantly Thursday to a Boston Red Sox board member who said the league could replace its players in the event of a labor dispute and "the match will continue."
Bill James, one of the first followers of the scallop sabermetry method and special adviser to the Red Sox, was chatting with colleagues on Twitter about the salary of the players when he posted: in three years it would not make any difference. Players are NOT the game, nor are beer sellers. "
The message has since been removed, but players and union representatives were quickly fired.
The Houston Astros pitcher, Justin Verlander, asked in a tweet if the Red Sox could have won the World Series with substitutes for Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez, David Price and others. Retired player Torii Hunter responded to James: "Real players can not be replaced but you can do it!"
Executive Director of the MLB Players Association, Tony Clark, described James's words as "reckless and insulting" in a statement.
Baseball arrived a few days after using replacement players to open the regular season during the 1994-95 player strike. Three days before the start of the season, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who was then serving in the Southern District Court of New York in the United States, said the owners could not unilaterally impose a new agreement to concluded.
The short season, the teams having played only 144 games instead of 162, started on April 25 with regular players.
"The players are the game," continued Clark's statement. "And our fans have the opportunity to enjoy every season the most talented baseball players in the world. If these feelings resonate beyond this one individual, all future challenges will be more difficult to overcome than initially anticipated. "
Tensions are already high between the union and the leaders of the MLB after the signing period of the 2017-18 autonomous agents saw an unusually quiet market. The teams held up the opening day before bidding on one of the league's free premium agents, which helped reduce the cost of these contracts.
The players, their agents and the alleged owners of the union have agreed to underestimate transactions with free agents. Clark called the phenomenon "a fundamental breach of trust between a team and its supporters "which threatened" the very integrity of our game ".
The league responded that it was incumbent on "player agents" to value their customers in a free agent market that is constantly evolving. "
The fight seemed to disappear once the season started and teams like Yu Darvish, Jake Arietta, Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer found themselves at a crossroads. But now, relations between the union and at least one of the press offices are once again frozen. The collective agreement of the MLB expires in 2021.
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