Thursday, July 2, 2009

16 comments Donald Fehr Should Not Have Done What He Was Paid To Do

At least thats what Phil Sheridan is telling me.

I can understand why fans of baseball have a lot of animosity towards Donald Fehr, although I dont agree with it. But I cant believe the amount of articles I've read since he retired about how he was bad for baseball. They all seem to echo the same setiments "Sure he did his job, but he should've known better". How contradictory is that? So he did his job, but at the same time he shouldnt have? Okay, that makes a lot of sense. Shouldnt the mainstream media know better that he, you know, worked for the player and not the other way around? His job was to represent their interests, not the fans, not the media, and certainly not his. Also, what about the good stuff he did? Two years into his tenure as Union rep, the owners decided to collude to drive down players salaries that lasted for three years. So Fehr did what he was supposed to do and fought it. Not only did he fight it, but he kicked the living shit out of the owners and they were forced to pay $280 million dollars to the free agents that they fucked over. Then came the 94 strike, where the owners wanted a salary cap imposed, and were not negotiating the CBA in good faith. They then tried to get replacement players for the regular season, and once again, Fehr fought and won. He did what none of the other major sports union reps could do and avoided a salary cap and replacement players. Some people look at it as the players being greedy, but why should they have their salaries go down so the owners can make more profit? It doesnt make sense to me why there is so much sympathy to the billionaire owners, and not the players who are trying to get fair market value.

Phew. Okay, I'm starting to ramble now. Anyways, Phil Sheridan wrote an article about a week ago painting Fehr in a bad light and I took exception to it. He pretty much says that Fehr should have told the players to get fucked, and to expose the steroid era, even though he works for them. I've talked too much now. Lets dive in, shall we.

This is the title: Fehr's legacy: More money, less ethics

Maybe the best way to explain Donald Fehr is that he was very good, maybe even too good, at his job. It's just that he could not or would not grasp what his job could have and should have been.

See what I mean with the "He did his job well, but he shouldnt have" example? I think he grasped his job very well, especially considering where players salaries are and how it took an act of congress (I still cant believe our government was so concerned with that, considering where our economy is sitting now) to get steroid testing approved. That IS his job: To carry out what the players wishes are. Not to be a moral crusader, like the members of the mainstream media, and tell us who is using steroids and condemming them.

If the union chief's sole responsibility was to pump up player salaries, then the brilliant and quick-witted Fehr was a smashing success

I would say that should be up there on his list of priorities, wouldnt you? I suppose Phil Sheridan wants his union rep to just not give a shit what his salary is. Judging the direction the newspaper industry is going, I'm going to guess its going down. Not to mention Fehrs responsibilty was also to ensure that the owners were not driving down player salaries, but they're billionaires, so we should feel sorry for them. Why do people forget so easily about collusion? Not to mention that before free agency, unless you were a star, you werent exactly getting paid big bucks.

Clearly, that is how he evaluated himself. The fact that his own income was tied directly to the average player's salary may have had something to do with his point of view.


But if the head of the union had some accountability for the long-term health and well-being of both the players and the game that enriched them all, then Fehr's tenure can only be considered a wretched failure.

Here it comes....are you guys ready for it? Its time for steroids! I know we've been talking about steroids an awful lot on the blog lately, so I'm going to try to steer as far clear of it as I can. The main point I had in this is to defend Donald Fehr for doing his job.

This seeming paradox can best be explained with a single name: Alex Rodriguez.

Oh, ok. So your going to make Alex Rodriguez the face of the steroid era now, right? I assume thats what you mean when you say "long-term health and well-being of both the players and the game" the previous paragraph.

Thanks to Fehr's domination over three commissioners and the owners they represented, Rodriguez was able to command two contracts worth $525 million from the Texas Rangers and the New York Yankees.

So...............Alex Rodriguez is going to have to worry about "long term health and well being" because he makes a lot of money? I figured it might be because of steroid abuse, but I guess he could get a severe paper cut from one of the checks he receives bi-weekly.

I'm still trying to figure out why this is a bad thing. And why is this Fehrs fault? Shouldnt they be blaming Scott Boras, or the owners who were stupid enough to dish out that much money? Fuck it, I guess, lets blame the union rep who had nothing to do with the negotiations.

This is Fehr's triumph, the highest paid player in baseball history.

Again, I would say this is more Boras triumph than Fehrs.

And this is the singular failure that outweighs it: Not only was Rodriguez able to earn those big dollars while pumping himself up with illegal steroids, he has never been suspended for a minute even though he has tested positive and admitted cheating

You cant just suspend him like that after the fact. How are you going to suspend everyone else that was using at the time? He also tested positive on an anonymous test there, slappy, and hasnt tested positive since. Perhaps you, the reporter, shouldnt have been all googly eyed over the behemoths hitting homers and breaking records, and done something about it, instead of demonizing everyone after the fact.

On Fehr's watch, the majority of which coincided with the reign of commissioner Bud Selig, baseball grew its revenues while bankrupting itself ethically and morally. Ultimately, that was the calculation that will define Fehr's career: Salaries rose with the home run totals and radar-gun readings, so let the players do whatever it took to jack up those numbers.

Yeah, it bankrupted itself ethically and morally, not unlike when black people werent allowed to play the game. That was when the game was at its highest morally, right Phil? What about the use of ampehtimines? Did you know that steroid use started in the 70's? Get off your high horse, phil.

Never mind the integrity of the sport.

Good thing the media protected the integrity back in the summer of 98. Oh wait, they didnt.

Never mind the unknown toll paid by young athletes who emulated the big-leaguers by jamming needles full of illegal drugs into their own fragile bodies.

Okay, this is pretty fucking dumb. Yes, lets blame the players for teens using steroids, not their parents. That would be silly. I mean, why wouldnt a parent question their kid if he just all of a sudden gained 50lbs of muscle out of nowhere? Unless their parent is Rick Reilly, that is.
Speaking of Rick Reilly, I did a search in the vault and I searched for steroids in the 90's decade. You have to read this article I found. It only points out what huge fucking hypocrites the media are in regards to steroids. Here is another one. From a different author, but its amazing how hard the mainstream media was working back then to expose these guys. I found a bunch more, and this is just from sports illustrated.

Selig has taken a lot of criticism for presiding over the steroid era, and he deserves most of it. It is the commissioner, after all, who is charged with protecting the game. From Kenesaw Mountain Landis and the Black Sox to Bart Giamatti and Pete Rose

Landis is also known for this: "Landis perpetuated the color line and prolonged the segregation of organized baseball. His successor, Happy Chandler, said, "For twenty-four years Judge Landis wouldn't let a black man play. I had his records, and I read them, and for twenty-four years Landis consistently blocked any attempts to put blacks and whites together on a big league field." But hey, at least he protected the game.

The mishandling of those 2003 test results represent a huge mistake by the union, which was responsible for destroying them.

This is probably the one valid point he makes about Fehr being a bad union rep. If they were destroyed, then we wouldnt be worrying about steroids anymore, and Arod would still be trying to break Barry Bonds record without the steroid taint.

The suspicion, depressing though it may seem, is that the players judge Fehr only by the number of zeros on their paychecks.

Well, the rest of us don't. Long after everyone forgets how much money A-Rod and Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds made, they will remember that the greatest players of this era were cheaters. Baseball's enormous mess is the legacy Fehr and Selig will share forever.

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME! I CANT BELIEVE know what? I think I'm gonna stop here because I think I'm starting to repeat myself. I cut out a bunch of paragraphs because the guy started to make it into a "evils of steroids" column. My point is that Fehr was an awesome union rep because he did what he was supposed to do. If you were in a union, you would want someone like him representing you because he does his job well. To say he was bad for the game because he fought for players to get paid market value and to protect their request for privacy is silly to me. People may not like it, but that was his job, and he shouldnt have just ignored his players requests just because the media didnt agree with him. He may get painted in a bad light by the hypocrites in the media, but I still have a great amount of respect for Donald Fehr, and what he did for his players.


Bengoodfella said...

My opinion on Donald Fehr is mixed. I do sort of blame him for the increase in ticket prices and for player's outrageous salaries. I also do blame him for that list of 104 names being released to the public. He should have done a much better job of making sure that information stayed private and did not end up in the public. He really screwed over the players in allowing it to become public or fail to take stronger measures to make sure it did not go public.

I do have to say I realize it was his job to make sure the player's salaries were able to be increase, that is after all what they paid him for. He wasn't the fan's union head, he was the player's union head so he looked out for them. The steroids stuff is a big failure of his. I do realize as well that player's salaries being insane was a product of teams willing to pay those salaries and agents who did their job "too" well.

Scott Boras had the Rangers bidding against themselves and then somehow got the Yankees to give A-Rod even more money after he opted out of his contract. That's not on Donald Fehr.

Anytime someone is talking about MLB having more integrity in the past it just reeks of bullshit to me. There have always been subtle problems with baseball, whether it was steroids, cocaine, racism or other things like that. Fehr did nothing worse to the integrity of the game or hurt it in any fashion worse than any other leader has in the past.

He did do his job a little too well but that should be a source of pride for him, even if it was sort of at the expense of the fans.

KentAllard said...

This is the same thing as when a criminal attorney defends someone the public doesn't like. It's his job. If he wins his case and you don't think he should have, blame the losers.

Bengoodfella said...

It is very similar and I actually took a different mindset to this issue maybe 2 weeks ago but I have thought about it and decided I was wrong. I do blame Fehr for some of the other problems caused by him doing his job well, but I don't think overall we can blame him for all of baseball's problems.

The agents and owners agreed to make outrageous contract agreements that may or may not have raised ticket prices. It's not all Donald Fehr's fault. The players also decided to try and use steroids, again not Fehr's fault. I do sort of blame him for not protecting that list of 104 names though.

Fred Trigger said...

players salaries dont raise ticket prices. Supply and demand does. If your team is perenially in the playoffs and are selling out every game, the prices are going to be higher. If you are the Pirates or nationals, they will be cheaper.

Martin said...

From what I understand, the samples were going to be destroyed, by a certain time, but that the Feds got an injunction to keep that from happening so they could use them in their criminal cases. More likely it was so they could go fishing and try and create criminal cases from the confidential evidence they could obtain from the samples. A judge let them do it though, and the players got screwed. this list has been around for years, strange that only now the names are being released. Feds must be done with it.

Bengoodfella said...

Yeah I know the salaries don't raise ticket prices directly. I am doing a lot of assuming but I am assuming a player who makes more money will be on a team that makes the playoffs because they have better players (who cost more money) and then the tickets will rise because the team is in the playoffs. It is a very indirect system I guess.

You have a point in a way though.

Martin, you may be right about the Feds getting an injunction to not destroy the samples. Either way, that is some bullshit and something should have been done one way or another. I hate to blame Donald Fehr for this but if we give him props for some things in helping the player's union, I have to mark him down a bit for this happening.

ivn said...

"I think it was a raptor's eye, a killer's swing and an XXL heart, not andro, that produced all those homers." -- Rick Reilly

fucking kill me.

no, better yet, kill Rick Reilly.

Bengoodfella said...

But...but...he asked Sammy Sosa to pee in a cup. Rick Reilly should innocent based completely on that.

I wish we could say he is not a real journalist so he is forgiven, but we know that is not the case.

On an unrelated note, Bill Simmons has chosen to not write his ESPN The Magazine article every two weeks anymore. Apparently it took too much out of him to write down 500 words every two weeks. So we are down to one column per week and three or four podcasts. Maybe he is competing with Reilly to see who can eventually do the least amount of work.

Fred Trigger said...

I was just typing that in for shits and giggles. You should have seen some of the shit I was finding from the 90's.

Bengoodfella said...

I wouldn't doubt it. I bet there are tons of articles written about steroid users attributing all they do to their workouts and all of that.

Martin said...

Ok, since I didn't want to put baseball in the basketball thread....

As the Official Simmons Podcast evaluator, he recently did one with Keith Law. Keith is one of the new wave-ish stat friendly analysts, and doesn't stumble over words like VORP and ERA+. However, in the podcast, he doesn't even display basic knowledge that a dedicated fantasy player, like say, SIMMONS displays. Simmons had to correct Law on how good/bad several players were, where Keith would say "well and so-and-so has stunk all year" and Simmons would go "Gee, he has a 4.11 ERA, doesn't sound that bad"

"Oh, well he must have improved lately...."

Fuck you Keith Law. Your god damned job is to watch baseball games and analyse stats. If you don't know how a guys been doing don't say ANYTHING.

He implied that the Dodgers have such a good record because "That division's terrible. Just terrible."

Total amount of teams in the rest of the National League who have a better winning percentage then the Giants and the Rockies? One. Uno. Ein. The St.Louis Cardinals. The Giants and Rockies both have better run differentials than any teams other then the Dodgers in the National League. Maybe the division isn't so freaking terrible eh Keith, you cliche spouting, lazy ass.

Yes the Padres and Diamondbacks aren't very good. Neither are the Pirates or the Nationals. The Giants are 8-9 against those 2 teams. The Rockies are 9-6 against those 2 teams. Not exactly like they are fattening up on them. On the other hand the Rockies are 15-10 against the Central and the Giants are 10-7 against the East. Again, not signaling sucktitude. Is it possible both will collapse as the season goes on? Sure, but ~As of Right Now~ the Dodgers are not winning a division because the rest of it sucks.

Go do some research Keith, or stay off the podcasts.

Bengoodfella said...

Ouch. Tough times for Keith Law. You don't think Bill forces him to act like he doesn't know what he is talking about when on the podcasts do you?

Seriously, what is the point of having an expert on the show if that person is not going to be smarter than the host?...or whatever Bill is.

I generally like Keith Law but he really needs to bone up on the NL West a little bit better. The Dodgers are playing well and the division is really not that bad. At least not as bad as the NL East is. I can't believe some of the teams in the West are as good as they are...If the Giants had any hitting at all I would not be shocked if they went far in the playoffs...their pitching is that good.

He displays some good old fashion East Coast Bias there. It's baffling how Keith Law doesn't know how good the teams in the NL West are. That is lazy on his part.

Thanks for the report Liason to Bill Simmons' Podcast. I should give you a greater forum because you do a great job of reporting what Bill says.

Martin said...

Ya know, I hadn't even thought of it as an East Coast Bias, but an American League bias, since they ripped on the National League to no end. They kept talking about how any American League team would be 10 games better in the NL. Maybe, but with no DH, who really knows. Now that you've mentioned it that might be more true then I thought. All the mistakes were on Central and Western teams. Tigers pitching, unsure of why the Angels are having a bad year...but spot on with Red Sox prospects and how good the Devil Rays are, and who they can use during the stretch run to fix their bullpen.

To clarify, the records of the Giants and Rocks were against the D-backs and Padres, not the Nationals and Pirates.

Bengoodfella said...

I don't know for sure, but I found it interesting that Simmons knew more about the players than Keith Law did and Simmons is of course located on the West Coast. People always think the AL is so much better than the NL, which may be true but they probably just base it on the records of each league in interleague play.

The West Coast Bias thing was just a guess. I would expect Simmons to know all about the Red Sox and the Rays since they are in the Red Sox division. I would think Law could get his information correct on all the teams though.

Martin said...

Ok, to transcribe the absurdity.

Talkng about the Tigers.

KL: "...and Galarraga looks legit...
~blah blah~ And Galarraga is better then expected...

BS: "Wait, wait, he has a 5.34 ERA, you expected him to be worse?"

KL: "Oh last I looked he was doing much better, he must have gotten bombed......."

BS: "No, he's been doing better lately, he started with an 8.00 ERA at the start of the season."

So in other words, Keith Law had NO CLUE what he was talking about.

He and Bill also agreed that in the 90's the Braves had pretty good rotations, but that Bobby Cox got extra out of the bullpens to get them all those division wins.

Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz, and two other guys, yeah, that might be a pretty good rotation.

Bengoodfella said...

Really? A 5.34 ERA is good? It is probably good compared to how he started the year off but Law did not even know that he had gotten better? I can't believe that. Law is supposed to be the knowledgeable baseball type, not Bill.

I would love to argue with Cox's use of bullpen and I probably have an entire Power Point presentation contradicting the points that Cox got more out of them but I am not in the mood today. I have questioned some of Cox's moves in the past and I have to say with a rotation with 3 HoF players there should be more than one banner in Atlanta...I am not saying it is Cox's fault, I am just saying...