Sox protest MLB pay policy for Japan trip

It was 12:05 PM, the national anthem was played, the official said, “play ball!”, and yet there was no stirring from either dugout. The Red Sox players were staging a protest against MLB’s policy for paying the teams for the upcoming Japan trip. From what I can gather, the string of events goes like this:

  1. Terry Francona finds out Tuesday in a conversation with someone in the Oakland organization that only players, and not coaches, with receive the $40k bonus for the Japan trip.
  2. Info is verified and broadcast in the Sox organization, there is a backlash which is a mixture of surprise and indignance, as the Sox assumed everyone would get paid.
  3. The players meet, they meet again, they voted unanimously to sit out of the Spring Training game and also voted to boycott the Japan trip unless this situation is rectified.
  4. They meet again, they relay this information to the Blue Jays, they wait for resolution.

Curt Schilling said:

They (MLB) wanted this trip to happen so badly, a lot of promises were made and they’re falling by the wayside time and again… (The coaches being paid) is something we were adamant about at the time and we’ve reiterated it multiple times.

So this is not a new issue just being brought up. Kevin Youkilis stated that it seemed there was some bad miscommunication between MLB, the Player’s Association and the Red Sox that was causing the problems. Once the A’s found out what was happening in Fort Myers, they also voted to follow the same measures as the Sox out in Arizona. A few minutes before 1 PM, a resolution was reached, and the teams took the field, an hour late.

For the Sox, it was an issue of team solidarity and fairness, especially to some of their coaches and support staff who are not compensated nearly as generously as the players (about 8-10 people per team). Given the way things unfolded, I applaud them for honoring their coaches and making MLB pay for their oversight. The owners are more than rich enough to afford the extra $1M or so for this trip.

The scheduled starter, Daisuke Matsuzaka, was sent to pitch a minor league game to avoid any ill effects of having a delayed start (or no start at all), and pitched six innings, throwing 50 of 78 pitches for strikes and allowing just three hits (one home run).

Josh Beckett also threw an unscheduled bullpen yesterday, tossing 45 pitches without any discomfort or limitation. If there is any single key to success for the Sox in 2008, they need Beckett and Dice-K to give them 200 innings each, and this is a good sign.


One Response to Sox protest MLB pay policy for Japan trip

  1. Pingback: Japan, You Floozy! | ChatterBalks

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