Baseball isn’t a sport exactly known for keeping up with the times. America’s national pastime has been slower than other sports for changing with new trends. But while the standard rules of the sport may have remained unchanged throughout the decades, the MLB union is facing a different struggle in how it adopts the new technology of social media. It could become a powerful force in making sure that free agents feel like they have a seat at the table. The most recent collective bargaining agreement left many agents feeling shut out, but the union is making moves to bring about changes on that front.
Since the rise of social media, none of the major national sports leagues have seen a general strike. There’s a good reason for that. The last MLB strike signified a time when the union had more strength, and the cloistered nature of locker room discussions – combined with a host of veterans who had weathered countless disagreements before – resulted in a more unified front.
But with social media becoming one of the most prominent platforms for communications, players can now speak directly with their fans. It’s much harder for the union to rein in potential discontent when any disagreeing player can fire off their thoughts on the issue in a matter of seconds and reach a national audience. For players who want stronger voices in the discussion, it’s a powerful tool, but it’s also a tool that the union could benefit from.
Transparency isn’t exactly a virtue that the union is known for, and one of the largest points of discontent in the past was over discrepancies in pay. With a strong social media presence, the League could provide more communicative messaging to both players and fans and make a better pitch for their arguments. It’s a tool that free agents will have to leverage, and that means that getting a better grip on the technology will be a practical necessity for the union looking forward.
What that means is that the union will have to look toward a future where they engage more openly and honestly with their players and provide a more honest view at the advantages and disadvantages of their decision making, because the social media revolution has undoubtedly given everyone in the game more control of their own place within the league and its given fans a clearer window into how the sausage is made.