Thursday, February 7, 2008

Cone Candor

Some welcome candor from David Cone:
David Cone is taking part of the responsibility for baseball's steroids era.

The former pitcher was on the union's negotiating team during the 1994-95 strike, when management proposed drug testing and the players' association successfully fought it off.

"Certainly in retrospect, I think there's plenty of blame to go around. Certainly I share some of that blame as being involved with the players' association at that time," Cone said Wednesday. "It's something I'm not proud of. It's humbling. It's embarrassing."

We tend to blame Don Fehr for union intransigence, but it is helpful to remember that player reps like David Cone and Tom Glavine -- smart, well-spoken, and well-respected veterans -- probably have just as much if not more pull with the union rank-and-file than Fehr does.

Nevertheless, as someone in the advocacy business, I can relate to Cone's misgivings here. When tasked with representing someone in an adversarial situation, it's way too easy to lose sight of the general, long-term good as opposed to the zero sum game involved in winning the point currently in play.

Back in 1994-95 the owners could have proposed feeding the poor and passing a resolution against grandmother-battering and the players would have rejected it. Same goes for the owners if the roles were reversed. That was simply the environment in which they found themselves.

*BTW, I usually at least try to make the pics match up thematically with whatever I'm talking about. This one is pretty tenuous, but every time I think of David Cone I like to think of him in a Royals uniform. For one thing, that was the first uniform in which I ever saw him pitch in person (in the fourth or fifth game ever played in Jacobs Field back in 1994). For another thing, I like to remember when the Royals were actually players in the free agent market and guys actually, you know, wanted to go there.


Anonymous said...

Why not just post a picture of
Ed Hearn and rip out what's left our our hearts?

Roger Moore said...

I think this is the area where the owners really deserve the blame for the mess with PEDs. For all that people tend to blame the players for all MLB's labor relations problems, the owners spent more than a century using every underhanded trick they could think of to squeeze players' salaries. Many of the players were personally victims of the owners flagrantly violating their own agreements by engaging in collusion. Is it any wonder that the players refused to trust them on an issue like PEDs?

If there's one place that I think that Bud Selig deserves enormous credit, it's in clearing up much of the bad blood that was poisoning MLB's labor relations. We've now had two CBAs signed without any labor action, and the owners were even able to re-open the CBA to negotiate a PED policy without excessive rancor. I don't want to absolve Selig of his own role in poisoning labor relations in the first place- he was one of the most militant owners- but he's certainly done a good job of cleaning up his own- and everyone else's- mess.