I blog about what muses me.

Isn't It About Time
Isn't It About Time
627 days ago 12 comments Categories: Games Tags: Baseball, MLB, MLBPA, Bitter Cup of Coffee

When I wrote my then regular The Public Ought to Know column (on which my book of the same name), I routinely scoped out topics I planned to cover. Sometimes, current events or experiences changed the order or pushed back or supplanted topics; indeed sometimes entire columns as drafted faced delay or re-write, or both. My approach to this regular Gotham Sunday blog sometimes follow a similar vein; what I planned to write about a week or several days ahead easily changed when time to compose approached. In this case I pretty much scoped out my planned column, equating it to the approaching seasonal change and to giving. An email changed all that. My friend Doug Gladstone wrote a book, A Bitter Cup of Coffee, exposing the outright failure of Major League Baseball and its Players Association to care for several hundred pre-1980 players who remain without both pensions and health coverage. Doug shared an articleabout the failure to address this outrage despite his 2010 book subtitled, “How MLB & the Players' Association Threw 874 Retirees a Curve.”


Doug emailed an article, “Left out in the cold … These retired players reveal shameful MLB tale,” by Barry Rosner found yesterday in suburban Chicago’s Daily Herald.Writing about hundreds of living ex-major league baseball player, Rosner explains, “those who played before 1980 and didn't complete four years of service to qualify for a pension -- the $11.5 billion industry can't find a few extra dollars.” Imagine. The sport I love above all others where the owners make really big bucks and players tend to do rather well just ignoring the needs of those who came before.


Still the case. Doug updated his book, recently re-released, in the hope the wildly successful sport and its players association might just show some love and respect for these players and their families.


After reading the article, I shared it on Gotham’s Sportstalk email listserve and posted a tweet, which I lated shared on Facebook. I noticed Doug shared his own tweet on the article and another on his own op-ed about an affected Savannah resident.


As the 1973 song by Manassas goes,

Isn’t It About Time?

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Per page: 
  •  MarilynGenoa wrote 627 Days Ago (neutral) 
    When such a clear opportunity to help exists, and the ability is there, not to do so speaks to the values of that industry.
    0 points
  •  Fred wrote 627 Days Ago (positive) 
    With you in their corner there is going to be movement!
    0 points
  •  Daniel_Schwartz wrote 627 Days Ago (neutral) 
    Greed of a sport overlooks human values once again.
    0 points
  •  Rona_Gura wrote 627 Days Ago (neutral) 
    It's amazing to me the differential in salary and benefits between players based on when they played.
    0 points
  •  Odey_Raviv wrote 627 Days Ago (neutral) 
    The blame is on greedy owners and insensitive players. Sports leagues owe so much to the pioneering players who played for peanuts.
    Something should be done.
    An example in the music world is the Jazz Foundation. They raise money to help needy jazz and blues musicians. A fabulous event is held each April to raise money.
    This year they are honoring Tony Bennet and Harry Belafonte.
    Performers include Common, Patti Smith, Bruce Willis etc.
    Two years ago Keith Richards performed 3 songs.
    A Great Night in Harlem at the Apollo April 4.
    Maybe A Rod and Jennifer Lopez will
    ask their wedding guests to donate to the Baseball retiree Fund!!!
    0 points
  •  Steven_Lichtenstein wrote 627 Days Ago (negative) 
    I don’t see why it’s MLB’s responsibility to provide support for athletes who played sports prior to the year stipulated. Certainly the average playing career of a professional athlete is short. In the scheme of a life it is the blink of an eye. College athletes have a choice to get an education and choose a skilled career or if they’re one of the few thousand who are talented enough, can make big money in a short time. Why does society or associations have to support them or better yet why didn’t they train or prepare their Members for a life after professional sports ?

    This is not the same issue as football players who were neglected by the NFL or research about the dangers of full contact or better helmet design or even increased penalties and consequences for illegal hits were kept a secret. (I think the NFL is liable and should have to establish as they have, a healthcare fund to assist grid iron retirees with healthcare issues caused by the sport that could have been ameliorated).

    I just don’t see why MLB should be held responsible for providing for the retirement needs of pre-1980 ball players ? Isn’t that what we have social security for ? This mindset everyone seems to have about big business and corporations having to pay what amounts to reparations is dismaying to me. People simply don’t plan to fail; they just fail to plan. Many industries and jobs will be made irrelevant in just a few years due to technological innovation, AI, robotics and nanotechnology. Does that mean that if an everyday common worker failed to plan for their retirement someone should be held accountable ? People will simply live longer than ever before and even those in their fifties, sixties and seventies will have to learn a new skill due to the creative destruction that will occur. Baseball players are no more special that any of us and they should not be treated any differently just because they entertained us or made someone else wealthy !
    0 points
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