Atlanta Braves Podcast S3E1: Labor Pains

With no Atlanta Braves baseball in sight, all we have is the dumpster fire that represents the state of owner/player negotiations. (Photo by Aldara Zarraoa/Getty Images)
With no Atlanta Braves baseball in sight, all we have is the dumpster fire that represents the state of owner/player negotiations. (Photo by Aldara Zarraoa/Getty Images)

Atlanta Braves fans can continue to hold on to the memory of a World Series title as we enter the New Year.  That could be the best news for a while, though.

Jorge Soler‘s monster shot at Minute Maid Park. Tyler Matzek‘s defiant refusal to be beaten by the game’s best hitters.   These are the things that made Atlanta Braves baseball during the 2021 playoffs.

It’s also part of the things that we can’t yet look forward to for 2022.

Ignoring — at this time, anyway — the fact that Freddie Freeman is going to be floating out there without a team until there’s a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, let’s talk a bit about just who gets hurt when owners and players go on these mutual temper tantrums.


Spring Training sites are only open for roughly 2 months out of the year, yet there are a bunch of people who do actually rely on these events to make some real income in these retirement meccas.

At this point, it’s not certain that some of the Spring activities in each state will be lost, but frankly, it’s getting hard to see how we’ll get through this lockout without losing at least a part of the Spring schedule.

So vendors, grounds crews, parking attendants, program sellers, ushers… all of these folks will lose their income.

But baseball’s royalty — the ownership groups and the MLBPA executive committee — doesn’t really worry about lost Spring games.  We’ve seen that in the past.


These are the players that the MLBPA professes to want to take care of in the next CBA… those who are fighting for jobs and can’t get a ‘decent’ contract.

These are the players occupying the 24th/25th/26th positions on the actives rosters… players that have to have everything go right to make a team in the Spring.

Without a full and orderly Spring experience, their chances of injury are higher.  Their chances to get a decent look from coaches are reduced.

Want to know why some of these ‘lesser’ players are signing overseas?  This is why.  It’s because they can get a sure thing in Japan or Korea or Taiwan.  Not here.


In 2018, major league teams needed 799 different pitchers to get through the season.  In 2019, that number rose a bit to 831.

In 2021, it was 909… averaging over thirty different pitchers per team.  This came after the oddest season of all in 2020 when there were 2 different partial Spring Trainings and a cobbled-together season.

So in 2021, pitchers got hurt because things were different coming off a shortened 2020.  A lot of them got hurt.

Mess up the Spring of 2022 and we can expect a repeat of 2021’s injury spate.  Count on that.


Yes, it was great that during 2020, baseball was the first sport to return to the field fully.  Then in 2021, it was the first sport to return with fans fully back in the stands.

Now, a labor dispute is putting baseball news … well, there actually isn’t any baseball news to speak of.

Out of sight, out of mind.  The fans will disappear in droves.


When you do all of the above, how does this help the sport?  How does this grow the game for the future?  How do you then draw the best athletes to the game so that the sport can make any claim to be the best it can possibly be?

The answer is that unless owners and players can come together and realize that it is in their best interests to do the right things for the sport, then the sport will suffer.

I can’t say that I have any optimism that this is going to happen.

Atlanta Braves podcast

So that brings us to this week’s podcast, in which we discuss these things at length.  Here’s the ways you can get to our own rants about these things:

  • The direct download link is here
  • If you’ve subscribed, your regular subscription service has probably let you know that the episode was available Sunday night… otherwise, most podcast providers support our efforts.
  • Here’s a handy inline player for your convenience.

Thanks for hearing us out… and please feel free to insert your own feelings about how baseball’s labor disputes are going in the comment below.

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Hopefully, we’ll have better news on the horizon soon… for the good of the game and for Atlanta Braves baseball.