15 February 2011

Take La Russa's MLBPA Comments with a Pound of Salt

A minor he-said-he-said tiff has broken out between St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa and MLBPA chief Michael Weiner. As the "deadline" for Albert Pujols' contract negotiation exclusivity bears down, La Russa attacked the MLBPA for pressuring the Cardinals superstar to hold out for a bigger pay day. Weiner flatly denied the accusations.

Before we take La Russa at his word, however, let's remember that he's A) management and B) carrying his own political baggage. Indeed, both Pujols' and La Russa's political leanings suggest an anti-union sentiment, as evidenced by their joint attendance at the Glen Beck rally in Washington, DC, this past summer.

I'm not saying that La Russa's accusations are downright false. I am saying that, considering his politics and his position, it's not unlikely that La Russa would exaggerate or overreact to any contact between Pujols and the MLBPA at this time.

Then again, I wouldn't put it past Weiner. Weiner represents the players, the players want big money, and many believe that the market is paced by the biggest deals offered to free-agents. Ignore the economic fallacies inherent in this way of thinking: this is how players--and analysts, and probably a couple of incompetent GMs--think. And of course, Weiner would deny any such implication.

Point being, always keep in mind the institutional and personal biases of public actors when deconstructing their public statements.

(Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

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