In case you missed it, former MLBPA leader Marvin Miller passed away at the age of 95 after a long bout with cancer. He accomplished amazing things for the Players Union, but, to be honest, and meaning no disrespect, I could do without all the attention paid to his passing from the baseball media.
Growing up and discovering baseball in the 1970s, I saw much of Miller’s contributions to the game. Most of my memories of him, however, are attached to negative events — specifically, strikes. No doubt that Miller’s work had an effect on baseball becoming a multi-billion-dollar enterprise, and his efforts were vital toward getting some of the dollars out of the greedy owners’ pockets and into the players’. But in the grand scheme of things, did he affect the game for me as a fan in a positive way? Or a negative way, for that matter?
Marvin Miller’s contributions to baseball are a business story, a story of workers’ rights, a story of finances. Personally, I’m more focused on the baseball aspect, and when his story spilled onto the field, it was rarely positive. That’s not to say I didn’t approve of his tactics — it’s just that what he did, didn’t make the game any more or less enjoyable. So while various sports media is honoring his passing and celebrating his life and achievements, I’m apathetic. I hope that doesn’t sound callous, but as a baseball fan that’s just the way it is for me.
(As an aside, the one thing that always stunned me was that the NFLPA didn’t hire Miller as at least a consultant. To me, pro football players need and deserve the power of the MLBPA more than anyone, considering what they put their bodies and brains through, and how much revenue is generated by their efforts.)
That’s all I have. What about you? Is Miller’s passing affecting you in any way? Do you care one way or the other? Do you think his contributions made “the product on the field” better, worse, or neither?
Answer in the comments.
About the Author
Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers.