The Boston Red Sox players have threatened to boycott their upcoming trip to play the season opener in Japan, if MLB does not pay their coaching and other staff $40,000 to make the trip.
UPDATE: And, the players boycotted the last game of Spring Training.
Fans filled the stadium, the national anthems were sung and the Boston and Toronto Blue Jays lineups were announced, but the game did not begin at its 12:07 p.m. scheduled start.
Baseball spokesman Rich Levin said the sport's lawyers were dealing with the situation.
"We're trying to work it out," he said.
As part of the agreement to make the trip, the coaches and staff were guaranteed the $40,000 stipend. Now, MLB is balking at paying the $40,000, which has upset the players. As reported by the Boston Herald:
“Unless they take care of this I don’t think we’re going (to Japan),” said Red Sox pitcher Kyle Snyder [stats]. “That’s pretty much where we stand. It’s a pretty strong feeling throughout the clubhouse.”
Both Red Sox manager Terry Francona and multiple Red Sox players who were in on the offseason phone calls regarding the logistics of the trip insist that part of the agreement to make the season-opening trip included the coaches being paid the same fee as the players.
“It’s wrong, it’s wrong,” said Curt Schilling [stats]. “It was part of the basic agreement when we talked about it last year. The coaching staff was part of the conversation, we all heard it.
“It’s not really surprising because the coaches and staff are people generally who have always been overlooked and undervalued.”
As others have mentioned, most notably Jayson Stark, there’s far too much at stake for the players to boycott the trip. It would be a huge embarrassment for the league, as the games in Japan are sold out. It impacts MLB, the A’s, the Red Sox… it has profound implications.
Why MLB is choosing to be cheap at this juncture shows a lack of respect for the players, the coaches and the staff. With Commissioner Selig making $15.06 million last year, alone, he could pay for the coaches and staff with the interest on his income.
Look for this matter to resolved very shortly.