Williams: Skepticism About the Optimism From MLB Owners

The MLB owners didn’t have to initiate a lockout the moment the previous Collective Bargaining Agreement expired.

They did.

The owners could have negotiated anytime in the first six weeks of the MLB lockout.

They didn’t.

The players submitted two offers during that time, with the owners big move being a request for a federal mediator.

And today, when asked about the inactivity from the owners, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred put the blame on the players, saying “phones work two ways.”

Manfred met with reporters in Orlando, Fla. at the end of the three-day MLB owners meeting, expressing optimism that a deal could be reached with the players. The owners plan on submitting their offer to the players on Saturday.

Forgive me for being overly skeptical about a group of billionaires who mostly own the media and have been playing the media every step of the way, but let’s look at how the media works:

**The busiest news day is Monday. That’s when all of the news from the weekend comes out, as everyone checks back into work.

**There’s the Friday afternoon news dump, which is typically when bad news is released, as most people have tuned out already for the weekend.

**Saturday is a dead day for news, as most people are enjoying their lives.

**Thursday is a good news day, as anything announced will be read as people are killing time on Friday morning.

The MLB owners could have easily submitted an offer today. They had months now to prepare one.

Instead, what we got was optimism that a deal would be reached, and a promise that they would submit that deal on Saturday.

The optimism has already hit the news, and the players aren’t in any position to be openly skeptical about this with no offer. They’ll wait until the black hole of Saturday to see how much the owners are willing to move close to their two previous proposals.

All of this is setting up for the owners to issue a very one-sided offer on Saturday, which the players would reject over the weekend. From there, the owners can come out in full force on Monday with an announcement that Spring Training games will be delayed, placing the blame on the players for not getting a deal done.

The players would be smart to wait until Monday to reject any offer, allowing them to dominate that news day with their own message, and avoiding MLB’s conveniently laid out schedule. Either way, the owners will blame the players.

That’s what they’ve been doing.

They even did it again today, blaming the players for the owners’ silence, while expressing optimism that a deal can be reached.

Does anyone really think that the owners are taking steps toward the players all of a sudden?

Or, is it more likely that they’re continuing the course, and just adding more and more pressure to the players by focusing on manipulating the news schedule?