LADY AT THE BAT: Donald Fehr: Good Or Bad For Baseball?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Donald Fehr: Good Or Bad For Baseball?

When the MLB Players Association announced yesterday that Donald Fehr was stepping down as its chief, the debates began on sportstalk radio about whether or not Fehr was good or bad for the game of baseball. It's a moot point, when you really think about it.

Fehr's sole purpose in running the player's union was to to do everything in his power to generate the best possible conditions for his constituency, and that is what he did. It was not his job to improve baseball or to make it worse. That was, and is, the job of the Commissioner of MLB. That is where the debate truly should be.

It is only a union's job to improve an industry only so much as it improves the industry's workers. That's a tough pill to swallow for some people, including myself. I've never been a big fan of unions. But, I believe it is true. It is up to the baseball commissioner (and the 30 owners) to actually improve the game, and doing that includes a sufficient defense against a strong union. They failed to do that. Over the years, team owners and various commissioners have been too busy caring about their own individual bottom lines rather than the game as a whole. As long as they themselves made money, who cared about the game as a whole?

Donald Fehr should be remembered as one of the most important people in baseball history and that is all. He was neither good or bad for baseball.


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