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Baseball players and team owners must cut a deal or risk losing fans for good

Very few fans will support the game going forward if this season is cancelled over money.

Chicago Cubs minor league hitting coach Rachel Folden hits infield ground balls at the Cubs spring trainng facility in Mesa, Ariz., on Feb. 5, 2020. The coronavirus pandemic has since suspended team activities.
Chicago Cubs minor league hitting coach Rachel Folden hits infield ground balls at the Cubs spring trainng facility in Mesa, Ariz., on Feb. 5, 2020. The coronavirus pandemic has since suspended team activities.
John Antonoff/Chicago Sun-Times

This is simple. An agreement reached in March between Major League Baseball and its players’ union, which prorated salaries according to the number of games played, was based on an expectation that fans would be in the stands. That no longer is the case, so the union has to be willing to renegotiate.

I believe the players understand this, but they can’t acknowledge it publicly. Doing so would weaken their negotiating position.

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Both sides, but especially the players, need to understand that they must reach an agreement. If they don’t, the backlash will make the fans’ reaction to the 1994-95 baseball strike seem like a walk in the park — and the players will be blamed.

Very few fans will support the game going forward if this season is cancelled over money. It will become a splinter sport, like professional soccer. I wonder how much money the respective parties will make in that scenario?

Glenn Bischoff, Bartlett

Editorial wrong on Pilsen landmarking

The Chicago Sun-Times’ Tuesday editorial on the Pilsen Landmark District is disappointing, failing to acknowledge our community’s fierce opposition. The Sun-Times does not even mention the lead organization fighting this proposal, an informal Alliance of Pilsen’s Property Owners, or any of its concerns.

First, our community deserves unambiguous notices that define the rights at stake. We also expect city guidance to be provided in a forthright manner. Instead, the city mailed vague notices and provided misleading fact sheets.

Second, the city’s marketing campaign bore the hallmarks of panic-peddling, an unethical practice to induce action based on our community’s fear of its changing demographics. In its press releases and studies, the city rooted its strategy in national origin and racial terms, a violation of the Fair Housing Act.

Third, the city lacks genuine community support. Its survey of affected property owners shows over 95% in opposition. The Alliance’s survey, which is larger, shows over 98% in opposition.

Fourth, owners and renters are hurt by this proposal. Beyond increased maintenance costs, the designation lowers the property values of Pilsen’s least affluent owners. The city is landmarking streetscapes; many “contributing” designations are inappropriate, effectively downzoning historically insignificant buildings. Also, studies show landmarks displace low-income residents by restraining housing supply.

Finally, few owners would benefit from the landmark’s financial incentives. For over a year, the city has promised to create meaningful incentives. It has not and likely cannot due to the city’s fiscal problems.

In sum, the Landmark District plan should be killed outright. However, Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez has offered a compromise, a demolition moratorium; suggestions that it lacks teeth are plainly ridiculous. The Department of Planning is the primary advocate for the Landmark; as such, it is unlikely to overturn the alderman’s demolition recommendations.

The Sun-Times should reexamine its position.

Arturo Garza, Pilsen