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When billionaires don’t care

MLB owners released a bevy of players during a pandemic because they don’t care about the sport or the players

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Chicago Cubs Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

To state the obvious, we are in a perilous time. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything about the way we live, how we choose to survive, and the prospects held by the future. We are in the middle of a crisis, and, you know what, I’m gonna stop right here. Hold on a second…

What I was trying to say above is true, but it’s also a lie that we tell ourselves to convince us and everyone around us that somehow today is worse than a few months ago. The truth of the situation is that not much has changed. The state of the world around us has become more obvious. The distractions we used to look to in order to escape from the never-ending onslaught of bad news and the crushing grip of a system that does not want you, me, or anyone else who isn’t a rich white male to succeed are no longer present. Without those distractions, the callousness of those in power has become plain for everyone to see.

Sports aren’t just sports, they are never just sports. Baseball, and every other sport, has always been and remains a window into the truth of our circumstances and the world around us. In Major League Baseball especially we are able to see the haves versus the have-nots. Every single MLB owner is of the group that loves to tell poor people to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. MLB owners are the perfect reflection of capitalism. Cold, uncaring, callous, and they revel in the power of being someone who has and can control those who have not.

Look no further than those teams who decided to cut minor leaguers at the beginning of this month. In the middle of a pandemic when the world feels like it is on the brink of falling apart MLB owners decided they couldn’t afford to keep paying a combination of 145 minor and major leaguers. None of these players were stars, they were players making very little, and during the shutdown the majority of them were scheduled to make $400 a week with the deal MLB owners just announced to pay minor leaguers. To the billionaire MLB owners any amount of money being paid to the 145 players they just cut is a pittance.

The owners have, they have everything. They have all the money, all the resources, and all the power. This isn’t a new development, but now we don’t have baseball, or any other sport, to distract us from the craven actions of a group of owners who think it’s okay to hoard their billions and stop giving paychecks to their employees during a pandemic. I could say the owners have shown us exactly who they are, but they’ve always shown us who they are. Not only have the owners always displayed their ghoulishness proudly, but along the way they have convinced a large number of fans that they are the victims in this saga.

I shouldn’t have to tell anyone this, but the owners are not the victims.

There is no universe in which the MLB owners are anything other than Ebenezer Scrooge taking great joy in their place in life above the unwashed masses. There’s nothing special about the 145 players who were just tossed aside during a pandemic. It’s happening to workers everywhere, and in most cases, the corporations casting their workers aside could afford to keep them. In true ghoulish fashion, they are choosing a year where they make $5 million in profit over a year where they make $3 million in profit. MLB owners are doing the same, using a pandemic as cover to cut costs and keep their billions.

At some point, fans are going to have to wake up and realize that MLB owners have neither fans best interests, nor the best interests of their favorite team, at heart. They have the best interests of their stock and bank accounts at heart, and nothing more.

145 players were released during a pandemic because MLB owners want to cry poor over using less than one percent of their billions to make sure their employees, players and otherwise, are safe and secure during a pandemic. MLB owners didn’t take off their masks in this instance. Their masks have been off from the start, but now we’re paying attention.