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Dodgers Dugout: Eric Karros will answer your questions, plus, your lockout comments

Eric Karros throws out the first pitch before Game 4 of the 2021 NLCS.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
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Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and you had plenty of comments about the lockout. MLB said Monday that if a deal isn’t reached today, they will cancel another week of games, meaning Dodger Stadium will be empty on April 15, Jackie Robinson Day, the 75th anniversary of his debut. What a shame.

But before we get to that, a reminder on some good news.

Former Dodgers first baseman Eric Karros, who played 12 seasons with the team, was named Rookie of the Year in 1992 and hit more homers than anyone in Los Angeles Dodgers history (270) has agreed to take part in our “Ask...” series, where former Dodgers answer questions posed by Dodgers Dugout readers.

If you have a question for him, please email it to houston.mitchell@latimes.com. Karros will answer selected questions and his responses will run in a future edition of this newsletter.

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Your lockout responses

I asked for your comments on the lockout, and you responded in droves. Before we get to your comments, a look at the poll results, after 16,793 votes.

1. Who do you blame for the current impasse?

The owners, 54.2%
Both, 40.3%
The players, 5.5%

2. Do you plan to continue watching or attending Dodger games after the lockout is over?

Yes, 87.3%
No, 12.7%

Now, some of your comments

William Fellers: I remember the previous shutdown and it was a good 10 years before I reinvested my time and interest in the game. Now they have gone and done it again and, I will probably be done with the sport for good. Aside from your newsletter, it is hard enough to follow the Dodgers on the east coast as it is and now I don’t have to worry about it at all because I give up on the sport. The fans need a seat at the table in the form of a commissioner. The commissioner should be independent of the owners and players and be the fan’s voice. The current commissioner is a joke and is pulled by the owners and political correctness.

Christian Clark of Covina: I will continue to watch the Dodgers. When I’m lucky to have a day off and a 1:10 p.m. first pitch, I will still grill some dogs and have a beer. The media can’t take it away from me, the current owners and players can’t take it away from me, the lectures on equality, politics and progressive analytics can’t take it away from me. Baseball is older than than these current trends and conditions. The Dodgers, Koufax and Scully are pillars in my family, as close to me and memories of my childhood as birthday cakes and summers spent at the beach. I don’t care what Max has to say, just like I don’t care what Manfred has to say. Sure, they are taking my game and my pastime away from me, but their arguments and philosophies don’t matter to me. I don’t care what a player makes, I don’t care what an owner makes. Baseball will still be there when they are gone, and I will still be watching.

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Bill Hawkins: I believe baseball team owners’ expenses cannot be compared to NBA/NFL for they have more expenses than the other two sports. More games, minor leagues, scouts, etc. The players get paid way too much, just like movie stars. Much of this has been brought on by the owners giving in and passing it on to the poor consumer, which is sad. The players are spoiled in every conceivable way and if they do not like it, get out.

Jonathan Boxer: In a workplace dispute, usually each side bears some blame. In this case I think the owners bear more blame since while their revenue has grown, they seem to not be willing to make commensurate upward adjustments in the players’ compensation. It also appears that the players are very angry and unable to make the adjustments needed to reach an agreement.

Stephen Hutchinson: Though nothing is ever just black or white, I’m holding the owners responsible because they locked out the players and waited 43 days to begin negotiations. Since negotiations started there has been a noticeable lack of movement on their part causing the cancellation of games and loss of income for the players. This is a blatant attempt to coerce the players to agree to the owners positions. The season could have been played under the old CBA while negotiations continued. Bad faith bargaining from the owners.

Jon Clement: It’s more the owners, but definitely a little of both. Ownership is wanting more and more control in the name of money. The fabric of baseball in all its glory is being buried by the owners in the name of greed. There is also Mr. Manfred who, in my opinion, has no respect for the game. The players are wanting equity, true competition. Yes, some make millions, but not all. I know some feel they are being greedy. When you compare it to what they bring in though? No brainer.

Jim Gass of North Logan, Utah: What about the fans? What about the high ticket prices, the cost of parking and concessions? I think both sides are greedy. I don’t want to hear about how they think they should divide their hundreds of millions of dollars when I can’t afford to go to a ballgame, let alone take my family. If they want an ally from the public, they need to stop trying to convince us of their financial problems which really don’t exist. If they can’t decide how to divide all that revenue, reduce the amount that’s being fought over and give the fans a break.

Karen Sandler: We just cancelled our Spring Training trip to Arizona after having to cancel in 2020 due to COVID, so yeah, we’re bitter. But we love the Dodgers, and watching and attending Dodgers games is a huge part of our lives. So yes, we’ll still watch even if the season shrinks to one week in September.

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Dan Walsh of Buda, Texas: I was wondering: How many of the current ballplayers were around in 1994? A quick search shows 1,373 players appeared in an MLB game last year. Of those, only 444 (32%) were alive in 1994 – the year of baseball’s worst moment. About a dozen of those guys were 10 years or older. It is doubtful that any of them recall the fallout of the 1994 strike. Do they not understand that the consumer of their product can and will walk away at any moment?

Ultimately, the consumer pays for all of the multi-year contracts, the luxury tax, the pension plans, the grand stadiums; and, of course the $8 beer and $6 hot dogs. The current negotiations are all about how to divvy-up our money. When will we be invited to the bargaining table?

Dan Tuthill of Peconic, N.Y.: The last time in baseball something like this happened, I was so angry that I literally did not pay any attention to the sport for 18 years. I slowly started to come back about 10 years ago and finally began to enjoy MLB again. I guess time really does heal all wounds. Unfortunately at 72 years of age I don’t think I have another 18 years left.

Enrique Martinez Jr.: If I would tell my boss what these players are saying to their bosses, I would be gone in a second. So no, I don’t empathize with the players at all. If they want to make the rules, go buy a team. Owners paid for the team, therefore they make the rules.

Kerry Ward: It’s hard to get excited about MLB - they argued two years ago about the amount of games during COVID. They are arguing now about money. Not about the betterment of the game, or the fans, or the folks that, as you mentioned, need the money as a worker within baseball. Nope, it’s about money. Are we supposed to side to side with Max Scherzer, a guy making more than $40 million a year because he was blessed with the ability to throw a baseball better than 99.6% of anyone on the planet? Cody Bellinger is making $17 million this year - really? A player hit .165 for the season and a got a $1mil raise? Sorry, that’s when people have to take a step back and say enough. It’s ridiculous to find any sympathy for the players.

Eduardo Gonzalez: It seems as though every time baseball starts to get it’s collective act together, the owners/commissioner decide to vigorously poke fans in the eye. This sham of a lockout can be explained by one word: greed. The player’s proposals have been rational and reasonable.

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David Cohen of West Linn, Ore.: It seems to me that every so often since the 70’s, when the players won the right to become free agents and formed a union, a good amount of team owners get it in their head that they have to bust the union. It used to happen more frequently, but for what it’s worth, soon as enough of the hardline owners decide it’s time to settle, there will be an agreement. At least that’s the way it appears to me. I think getting a new contract done is totally up to the owners. They just have to decide that making money is more important than teaching those arrogant employees a lesson.

Marilyn Daniels: The impasse needs to be settled immediately and baseball needs to return. With everything happening in the world today, this situation is petty. We all need something positive to see and do in our lives and the return of baseball would be just that. Continuance of this situation will simply turn the nation off to the rich MEN in baseball.

Stories you might have missed

The MLB lockout is keeping Dave Roberts from managing. But he gets to be a full-time baseball dad

Max Scherzer favors ‘ghost win’ format in revamped MLB playoffs

And finally

The Dodgers win the 2020 World Series. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

Have a comment or something you’d like to see in a future Dodgers newsletter? Email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.

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