Red Sox to Boycott Game: Let's Play None?

Luigi TollisCorrespondent IMarch 19, 2008

The lineup has been posted, the starting pitchers have been chalked in, but there's not one player are on the field.

Today's Grapefruit League Game between the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays might not be played. It's not an issue of weather. The field is in perfect playing condition.

Could this be the game that doesn't get played?

Well, it's still up in the air, but the Boston Red Sox players have just voted to boycott today's game and refuse to board the plane for Japan this evening if their demands are not met.

They are insisting that the coaching staff should receive the same compensation as the players (the amount of $40,000) for the trip. 

Dustin Pedroia has taken the field to do a few sprints. But no word has yet come down as to whether or not Major League Baseball has acquiesced to the team's demands.

This wasn't an issue brought by the coaches. Granted, Terry Francona was incensed when he found out about this issue a few days ago when he contacted club officials of the Oakland Athletics.

But it was in a player-only meeting that the athletes voted to boycott the game in a show of solidarity.

To be honest, it's really strange to see both teams in their dugouts, the umpires ready to call good pitches, balls, and pitches a foot outside strikes.

It looks as though a multi-billion dollar industry just can't manage to pony up a couple of million dollars to adequately compensate the coaches for both the Sox and the Oakland A's. 

WEEI's Joe Castiglione reports that the total cost per team needed to meet the players' demands would be somewhere in the range of a half a million dollars.

While Curt Schilling is listed on the 60-day DL with a bum shoulder, his mouth is apparently in perfect working order. Among the topics he discussed with the press was the negotiating phone call between the team and MLB.

According to Schilling, MLB officials made oral promises that the coaches and training staff would receive the same compensation as the players. That promise, like many others discussed that day, has gone the way of the thirty-game winner. 

Also according to Castiglione, Oakland GM Billy Beane was not aware that the coaches and training staff would not be compensated until dinner last evening.

It appears now that even if the demands are met, Dice-K will not be pitching in today's game, and will instead pitch in a minor league game at 1:00 PM.

It has also been reported that Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester will not accompany the team to Japan regardless, as he is now scheduled to start a minor league game tomorrow afternoon.

As the players have all gone back into the clubhouse, it seems pretty clear that no game will get played today.

There is no joy in Mudville. Major League Baseball has struck out.

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UPDATE: Well, it's now 1:10 and the first pitch has been thrown.  The compensation package is in place and the fans are being given their money's worth.