Episode 22

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

malls, julian, baseball, people, san diego, players, big, owners, thought, uk, strike, money, sports, shop, online shopping, michael, sides, spring training, outlet, strip mall

SPEAKERS

Michael Moran, Julian Bishop

 

Michael Moran  00:25

Julian, Episode 22 How are you doing?

 

Julian Bishop  00:28

I'm great. How are you?

 

Michael Moran  00:30

I'm very good indeed. And so on tonight's fun filled episode, we're going to talk about San Diego. I gather there's a baseball strike coming up. We shall go into enlighten. Now, UK audience, but importantly, the start, we're going to start with moles. And you tell me, I've got some questions to answer on moles. I don't this is my specialist subject.

 

Julian Bishop  00:53

Yeah, I've got a little bit of a quiz for you later. But we probably should start with a bit of a history of malls. Do you know where the mall comes from them? Michael?

 

Michael Moran  01:03

Ihave no idea. But you can enlighten me Julian?

 

Julian Bishop  01:06

Well, the words comes from an Italian game bit like croquet, I think called Palo Maliau. And that's like a croquet game played in an alley, London zone. Pall Mall comes from that word. So that's where the word comes from. But the actual concept probably comes from Europe, there were there were many arcades and bazaars all over Europe. That's where the concept came from. And they started, you know, really, when the car started coming out, 20s 30s and 40s, they started being a few strip malls, congregation of shops visited by cars in the 1920s 30s and 40s. But the first indoor mall was from 1956 in Minnesota. And it really happened at the same time as the American middle class started to have some money. Many people had cars, and the new eyes and how roads started to come into place. That was the first enclosed mall ever since they've been growing in popularity, and the American started exporting their mall to the rest of the world, Jakarta that has 200 malls. Did you know that Michael? No, I did not know that Julian, but they're sort of fairly commonplace in, in the UK now subject to planning permission. That's the history of them. And and it's kind of difficult to define what a mall is, because there are so many different types of Mall. And you've got the indoor malls, which you know, probably people think of when they think of American malls. And there are well over 1000 of those in the states that there are around about 120,000 Other malls, you know, mainly strip malls and outlet malls and other types of shopping center. So you're a big fan of the mall there. Michael,

 

Michael Moran  02:57

did you take a step back? Because I think you're using a tear, which a lot of our British listeners won't be familiar with. We don't really refer to them as malls. We call them shopping centers, don't we? And yeah, and actually, I'm gonna say I think the two types and I want to contrast, I think we have them in cities, which you've normally got lots of parking. But we've also now got an outlet store. So you know, that we deliver the drive to these these specials? And are you using outlet stores as malls? Are they separate entities?

 

Julian Bishop  03:30

I think they're a specific type of Mall. So an outlet center is one allegedly where you get lots of cheap shopping clothes and so forth. But I just think that's just a particular type of Mall.

 

Michael Moran  03:42

Yeah. And, and typically it's about the park is that so you don't just park outside the shops and walk down them. Whereas malls tend to be a mivue indoor and typically have features. So do I like them or not really. As I said last time, I think if you want go and see spectacular ones, you go to Dubai, they've got them. But I have been to a couple of malls in the States. I remember going to warn in Houston that our ice rink in it, which I thought was interestingly in middle hot summer. Have you been to

 

Julian Bishop  04:16

the Mall of America in Minnesota?

 

Michael Moran  04:18

No, I haven't. But I know of one.

 

Julian Bishop  04:21

That's yeah, that's one of these huge malls. They have 42 million visitors per year. They have 520 different stores, while a different three of the 520 year gap stores so large that they need multiple gap stores and the middle of this mall, they have a big amusement park, they have a pool they have an aquarium so the whole bunch of things to entertain people and to attract people to that mall.

 

Michael Moran  04:51

I suppose my other impression of malls is that places that lots of young teenagers go to they sort of hang out there with is that a Ferris testament of if you want to get away from your parents, you go down the mall.

 

Julian Bishop  05:04

The mall is very important culturally in the US, because it's a tight, it's a place of firsts. So it is the first time you get a bit of freedom from your parents, you probably go on your first date at a mall, you probably get your first job, but some more. So I think it is culturally pretty important historically, for American teenagers

 

Michael Moran  05:25

and economically how they're doing because getting in the UK, the retailer, or the old shop from retail is not going well. We moved online. And it's only the sort of specialists outlet stores, which you know, on typical industrial parks away from the town centre that seemed to be doing well, yeah, we're blue water, or the big ones are really struggling in cities.

 

Julian Bishop  05:51

Yeah. So for COVID, there was a 91% fall off in sales in malls when COVID first happened. But that has since regained. So most shopping centers, and now they're selling more than they did pre pandemic. But I think there is you're hinting that there's a sort of longer term decline in shopping malls. And I think the same is in America. So that that started in the same place. So the shops, which have been most affected by it are the department stores. So just as in Britain, a lot of the department stores are either closed or they're, they're struggling. So the same as in in the States, the malls would have an anchor store. So like a Sears or a Macy's or Nordstrom, or a JC Penney or a Bloomingdale's, and many of those have either gone bankrupt, or are, you know, massively struggling? I think there is a narrative, which sometimes I think is proposed by the people who run run online businesses, which is the physical shop is dead. Everything's going to be online in the future. But I don't think that's the case. I think that the larger malls, the ones with the additional entertainment features, those are going to be the ones which continue to do well. And the smaller malls have probably going to be the ones that struggle. Now a lot of these owners of these malls in America investing a lot of money in, you know, making sure they put in cinemas and ice rinks and, and restaurants and other forms of entertainment in in their malls to try and make them more relevant for the future.

 

Michael Moran  07:36

Okay, so yeah,

 

Julian Bishop  07:37

but do I bet? Do I believe that malls are going to go out of business? No, I think many of them will go out of business. But that is because there's probably twice as many malls as there needs to be in America. But I think the the better quality ones will continue to do very well.

 

Michael Moran  07:54

And are there particular times of the day or the year when malls are very busy. So I'm thinking was the American experience when two people go to the mall? Well,

 

Julian Bishop  08:04

I mean, I'm not like your wife, somebody who is always shopping. But whenever I have gone to one of these places, especially this sort of newer type, they're pretty busy. And the parking lots are filled to the brim. And that seems to be you know, most times of day, obviously, at the weekend, they are busier. Yeah, I would say they are busy most of the time. Okay. And it is you are beginning to get companies like Amazon have physical stores, and they have the physical stores, the best of the malls and the you know, the most with the most facilities.

 

Michael Moran  08:42

We wouldn't normally like grocery stores in a mall. Would you mean, in my experience, and it's mainly luxury goods and, and I think women's clothes. Obviously Jones was locked down in malls though. It's close. You're buying and I know sports, sports goods, etc. I mean, it's not like you're what I call a convenience store. You're not going to pop out to the mall and buy a pint of milk. Oh, yeah.

 

Julian Bishop  09:05

Yeah, usually the supermarkets are in strip malls. And so they're the anchor for a strip mall. And so there might be 20 or 30 shops within a strip mall, of which 60% of the space is taken up by a big supermarket. So that's where people would go for that. If you think about it, if you're doing your own shopping, you probably don't want the distance between the supermarket and your car to be that far that will work for the supermarkets to have a strip mall which is mostly catered for their needs, rather than having to, you know, people having to walk half a mile to their car with their shopping.

 

Michael Moran  09:48

And I know this is not necessarily on message into malls, but how's online shopping for grocery shopping become popular, because certainly in the UK you can get a sense that going to the supermarket Get your foot holds Weekly has been overtaken by ordering online and it'd be delivered.

 

Julian Bishop  10:05

This bizarre when I first came to the States, you know, obviously the states is usually ahead of the trends globally for most things, but there are a couple of areas where they are massively behind. So one of the areas they were massively behind, and I think, to an extent still are, is online banking, and another is an online shopping. When I was living in the UK, I was doing online shopping from from around about 2001, so about 20 years. Whereas it's really only become a thing. Since the pandemic, for whatever reason, it didn't take off, they did try and make things work for online shopping. But you know, there just wasn't the demand for it in the early 2000s. And I can sort of understand that in the UK, going supermarket shopping is a miserable experience. Usually there isn't that much parking, the lines at the checkout along the aisles are small. In most parts of America, there's a lot more space, it's a more pleasant experience. You know, my desire in Britain to move to online was quite high because I hate going supermarket shopping. I quite like it in the US haven't actually done any online supermarket shopping in America since I came here. 10 years ago.

 

Michael Moran  11:22

Okay. So you see the future is bright for malls then.

 

Julian Bishop  11:28

I think the future is bright for modern malls with the web. They've already got great tenants in I think it is, is decent. Yep. I think people like to be able to see and touch something before they buy buy things. So yeah, online will continue to become more popular. But I think there will also be a place for in person shopping as well.

 

Michael Moran  11:53

And do you have stats for the balance between impatient shopping and online?

 

Julian Bishop  11:58

I have read those stats a couple of years ago. I think it's like 10 or 20% is online. Yes. And obviously Amazon's the big company here but Walmart and and target which are two sort of very large sort of shopping enterprises here are very big online as well. One of the things that Amazon's done here recently there's a store here called Kohl's which is a clothing store and Amazon did a deal with them. So that if somebody has something they bought on Amazon, which they don't like, they can go to a cold store and take their good back to that store. I would imagine that the future of shopping is a mixture of online and in person.

 

Michael Moran  12:39

Okay, so have we done most of death? Yes, I've got a quiz go on them. Hit me with it. Julian hit me.

 

Julian Bishop  12:46

So why to malls have hard floors in the common areas,

 

Michael Moran  12:51

way to have something to do with the supermarket trolleys or footfall women in stilettos,

 

Julian Bishop  12:58

women stilettos. That's it. So is actually it, they have done studies and show that women who are walking on hard floors, they like the sound that their heels make. And on hard floors. They buy more stuff. Yes. So that's the reason that they have hard floors, whereas in the shop itself, they have carpets, they want to, you know, have a more of a homely feel.

 

Michael Moran  13:23

So strike one for Michael there. I get I get one point. Good.

 

Julian Bishop  13:27

You get one point. Okay. Second question. Why are the escalators in the middle of the malls? Not at the ends?

 

Michael Moran  13:37

Why in the middle of the malls? I'm thinking because it makes people sort of have to go left and right. So, right. So it's maximizing the amount of time you spend in a mall? Yes.

 

Julian Bishop  13:52

Yeah. So basically, they obviously could have them at the end. But yeah, they make them walk more. And then if as they walk more, they'll spend more

 

Michael Moran  14:00

see all that time with Joan is not being wasted here. I spent a lot of time watching. The real key thing of a decent mall is have they got chairs that you can sit on outside the shops, right with internet access. So you can read the paper or do quizzes or whatever,

 

Julian Bishop  14:16

right? And of course, most don't because they want to encourage you to shop rather than sit. Yeah, but there are a few and Taylor's loft I particularly like because they have nice sofas that the men can sit on well, they're their partners, you know, choose their clothing. Okay, so final one, and this is something that this is an area is something of your speciality, I think so obviously, we know that you're a big fan of Bad Santa. But how much two department stores or more centers get paid?

 

Michael Moran  14:52

Oh, first started with 10 Give me what the living wage is in the state's power.

 

Julian Bishop  14:59

The living wage would probably be something like $18 an hour, it will vary. Of course, depending on where you live something of that order, the minimum wage is $8.25. And the the living wage will be, you know, mid teens dollars.

 

Michael Moran  15:16

So I'm going to go 25 to $30 an hour is a highly skilled job.

 

Julian Bishop  15:22

Well, you said it's a highly skilled Do you know how they get their skills? These mall Santas,

 

Michael Moran  15:27

they only have standard training schools.

 

Julian Bishop  15:30

They got a Sansar universities I thought the Colorado thought they had. Yeah. And people go to that. And it may surprise you, that Santos get up typically between 50 and $100 an hour. And in the season, six week season, assuming they're going to work hard, they may well, you know, make between 10 and $60,000.

 

Michael Moran  15:54

Gosh, so nicely laid out and and what did the elves get? Julian? Don't know it read

 

Julian Bishop  16:01

about that one. I was happened to be reading on moles. And then this, this fact came up on Santas, I thought, Oh, Michael will like that one. I could see you as the Sansom all actually my claim,

 

Michael Moran  16:13

because obviously I've got the all the naturally comfortable security round belly. And I was going to say I don't think Billy Bob went does underscore.

 

Julian Bishop  16:22

No, I don't believe he did either. No.

 

Michael Moran  16:24

But there we are. Oh, and when the standards appear in the malls, because obviously, you've got this big problem where most malls have a Christmas shop, which is open 24/7 all day. Yeah. Or you're out, don't you? When

 

Julian Bishop  16:37

usually about the week or so before Thanksgiving, or sometime in mid November, there's there's usually like a five or six week season.

 

Michael Moran  16:48

Century experience. So it's not just seeing center. Although Is it truly like Disney fied the ability to entertain people in queues or whatever, and you obviously end up at the sandwich shop, presumably,

 

Julian Bishop  17:00

you might be asking the wrong person for that answer to that question. I personally haven't stood in line to go and see Santa for some 50 or something years. So I'm pretty

 

Michael Moran  17:11

certain given that rate of pay. There's got to be a very strong ROI on having Santa there.

 

Julian Bishop  17:18

Right. Yeah, I think that's right. Anything you want to say on most Michael, on

 

Michael Moran  17:24

the outlets, we always when going into the states and anyone visiting towards the end of the trip, it's always worthwhile going to an outlet, because you can get some certainly things like Levi's or gaps really good value, we always end up buying an extra suitcase to bring back. So you have much Jones jobs. But that's that's quite fun to go to a an outlet shop. But other than that, I try to avoid them at all costs.

 

Julian Bishop  18:02

Okay, well, let's move on to San Diego.

 

Michael Moran  18:05

And I believe on this one, Julian, I will actually have the knowledge you don't which is very rare. That's right, very rare, and puts me somewhere to a nervous position here. Julian, do I know enough to tell people about San Diego,

 

Julian Bishop  18:17

I've been to San Diego just once I was sometime in the mid 90s. We're talking, you know, 25 years ago. I very much liked it when I went there. But I'd be interested in hearing your view as a more seasoned traveler to that city.

 

Michael Moran  18:33

I'm surprised you've only been one, although you liked it. Because I think it's definitely somewhere. If you're going to the States you should visit. First of all, I'm going to say what is the ideal way of getting San Diego. Julian, what's the ideal way?

 

Julian Bishop  18:49

Well, I think it has excellent airport. And I think direct flights also from the UK. And the airport is fairly close to San Diego. So I would say you go by plane but you're probably going to tell me that there is that 19th century form of transport the train that you can get salutely by is that right there.

 

Michael Moran  19:09

So you go into LA and you get the Surfliner. And the clue is in surf in the train going San Diego. And what's great about it, you literally travel along all the coast all the way to review of literally the sea of people surfing. So if you've got time to spend it's an excellent way to get San Diego so that's my first thing. go by train. Second thing. Ghana has done a bit more background research per se. It does seem to have a whole host of amenities or places to visit way above what to expect for what's in relatively small city safe city apparently, it's number 20 on the Safe Cities in the States as a great time it

 

Julian Bishop  19:53

famously it markets itself is 70 degrees all year round, doesn't it which is Around about sort of 22 degrees sound Centigrade. The reality is it has a little bit more, I think it really is between 60 and 80. Pretty much all year round. 16 degrees centigrade, 27 degrees 70

 

Michael Moran  20:13

or whatever you likely thinking God, I don't think it does much extreme weather. It's not like Florida, where you've got the wrong all sorts of earthquakes. So it is very amenable climate. And if you walk around, it's easy to walk around. Yeah.

 

Julian Bishop  20:27

And 70 miles of beaches, I think is one of the big attractions.

 

Michael Moran  20:31

I can only say where I went while I was there. So let me give what I think of the high spots. I'm going to go with the Balboa Park, which of course has got the world famous San Diego Zoo within it. And when I when you could see the pandas, I'm told the pandas have gone back to China. Is that correct? Julia? I believe so. Yeah. So so

 

Julian Bishop  20:52

every every panda and every zoo around the world is owned by China. Okay, so the zoos themselves they only have these pandas on loan for as long as the Chinese authorities want them to have those pandas.

 

Michael Moran  21:05

But I think originally the famous San Diego was it was breeding pandas. I was surprised had gone back, because they really wouldn't say went out there. It was the star attraction. But again, as you'd expect in today's news, conservations really high on the agenda. Now, it's not like a small zoo, where animals are in cages or anything like that. beautifully set out in this huge park. Remember, some of the ballpark like 12 12,000 acres? Big, big part. So second one is the botanical buildings really good to go in? I mean, it's all in the same park. There's a Japanese friendship garden. There's a Spanish village art. Go do. And then of course, not forgetting Julian, the San Diego Model Railway Museum.

 

Julian Bishop  21:54

You like model railways as well as real ones,

 

Michael Moran  21:56

of course and having to go into it. It's stunning. I mean, it's so on the scale you wouldn't expect? Absolutely build our park is essential to go to do you have your own model railway? No, I do not. I do not know.

 

Julian Bishop  22:12

So that's, you know, one person who does Michael Ross do?

 

Michael Moran  22:16

Yes. Yes. Yeah. Famously. The next one. I hope it says correctly. Julian is Hotel Del Coronado.

 

Julian Bishop  22:29

Surprisingly, you've pronounced that correctly. My first advise me as

 

Michael Moran  22:32

well. So you go across the water to it. Obviously, a very, very impressive Victorian hotel building, which one stage I think was the second largest Victorian hotel in the world. Definitely.

 

Julian Bishop  22:48

Which scene? Did you stay at that? So

 

Michael Moran  22:50

we just went for the afternoon, afternoon tea there. Okay. It's on its

 

Julian Bishop  22:53

own island, isn't it? Well, there may be other things on the island, but it's within the bay. There's a big island called Coronado islands.

 

Michael Moran  23:01

And I think I've said this in the podcast previously, where we stayed we went with go to Hard Rock Hotel, which had the advantage of being next to Petco Park, the fantastic baseball stadium, the God and in fact, we didn't bore nice consecutively or watching baseball. It's also very adjacent to the Gaslamp Quarter, which is sort of pedestrian restaurants, bars or so again, great for walking around. And we also was going to pick up, we didn't do it, but you've got the USS Midway was an aircraft carrier museum to go and do it. Oh, and of course, you can get the tram and go to the old town. And the old time is a recreation of, of San Diego by 1820 through 1870. Everything from Solu balls to Wells Fargo characters again, well with

 

Julian Bishop  23:58

wire wire syrup used to live in, in San Diego for the best part of a decade didn't

 

Michael Moran  24:04

I didn't know that. Julian, he did. So that's what we didn't do was you could have done it. You know, if you go to Mexico for the day, he's one of those places where for? If you want to stay for four or five days, there is plenty to see and do and as you rightly say, fantastic beaches. You can go hiking. You lost lots of sorts of sports. I'm surprised you haven't been back there, Julian.

 

Julian Bishop  24:28

Well, I'm a bit surprised. I haven't been back and I did want to go back this year, but Lorna vetoed it, it will have to be another time. I really enjoyed it. It was a very outdoorsy place as you would expect with that sort of perfect weather they have. Did you do any? Skateboarding?

 

Michael Moran  24:45

No, no. My days of skateboarding. I got my my son is a big skateboarder. But I believe that

 

Julian Bishop  24:51

I do. Because some Tony Hawk that famous skateboarder comes from San Diego and I believe he's funded a very large number of skateboarding parks throughout the city.

 

Michael Moran  25:03

Well, and he's my son's sort of legend he is indeed I know he's currently touring and Don's got tickets to see him at the London Palladium shortly. Oh, Tony Hawk is the man in skateboarding.

 

Julian Bishop  25:15

Okay, and did you go to SeaWorld? I thought you might have no we did.

 

Michael Moran  25:19

We we did see you were a Disney so we didn't do SeaWorld.

 

Julian Bishop  25:24

What about the main food in San Diego was fish tacos? Did you? Did you eat any of those?

 

Michael Moran  25:30

I don't think we did. We did lots of fish but the other fish tacos

 

Julian Bishop  25:34

and Green Eggs and Ham Did you eat any green eggs?

 

Michael Moran  25:37

No. That sounds horrible. Julian, what a green eggs.

 

Julian Bishop  25:40

Cuz? Because Dr. Boyce comes from San Diego. You look at me as a blank list. If you've never heard of Green Eggs and Ham

 

Michael Moran  25:49

no or illuminate me please. Really?

 

Julian Bishop  25:53

Well, he's a children's author. Have you ever heard of Dr. Or you might call him Dr. Seuss.

 

Michael Moran  25:59

Yes. Your pronounciation is all missing. Julian, I'm afraid.

 

Julian Bishop  26:03

You think? You know I believe I might have that correct. So yes, he comes from San Diego. So you didn't go to Mexico? Were you tempted to you know to rent a car and then drive down to Baja California or, or merely to Tijuana.

 

Michael Moran  26:19

We were tempted. But given what I've just said about the number of attractions, we just didn't get the time to go. So that was why we didn't go.

 

Julian Bishop  26:28

Let's do a rating for this. So do we have anything else to say?

 

Michael Moran  26:31

We always very fair, Junior. So I honestly would have liked that. I did like a lot. Things I did like, Yeah, they did have quite a lot of homeless people. It's not uncommon. We came at a hotel, see people sleeping on the pavement, or likewise, even the Gaslamp area, if you're having a meal outside people approaching you asking for money. I think you said before, probably no worse than any other city. But I did. Well,

 

Julian Bishop  26:54

you've said that I believe the west coast, the West Coast cities generally. Homelessness is much more obvious.

 

Michael Moran  27:02

And again, from memory, I think it's quite early. I mean, it's easy to walk around. But obviously, we were so temperature quite hot. So no, you need to look after yourself. But I like it a lot. I'm going to give it a four out of five Julia, I suspect for British people, quite undiscovered, enormous, unspoiled, not like LA or San Francisco. He dealt you're going through it and I would recommend you go to it.

 

Julian Bishop  27:28

I agree with you. I don't know why I haven't been back in 25 years. Because when I went there, I loved it. You talking about the various things that you did makes me want to go and revisit it. So I concur with your four out of five.

 

Michael Moran  27:42

So I should I book you in for the San Diego Model Railway Museum, Julian?

 

Julian Bishop  27:49

Yes, why not?

 

Michael Moran  27:51

Okay. Does that take us on to this baseball strike that is impending? Surely not. We haven't even started spring training yet, have we?

 

Julian Bishop  28:13

It looks likely that we will not be starting spring training on time. So a short history lesson for people. Baseball, in the last 50 years, has had a number of strikes. So it had a strike in 1972, 1973, 1976, 1980, 1981, 1985, 1990. And then the big strike in 1994-95, which wiped out one and a half seasons of baseball. That last big strike was very problematic for baseball, because a lot of fans of the game stopped watching it. The average salary for a baseball player is $4 million. Although there are people who earn a lot less than baseball, it's kind of unedifying, to see people striking when they're earning so much money. That's what happened in the mid 1990s. Many of the fans never came back after that strike. Again, in 2020, when COVID hit, beginning of that season was lost, and it took baseball quite a long time to agree a way forward to play the remainder of that season. Really, for the last 50 years, there's been this history of baseball players, and the owners of the baseball clubs being in dispute. This year, the end of November, the collective bargaining agreement that they have in place expired at the end of November 2021. They've been trying to agree new terms for this bargaining agreement. And they have struggled to do that. I call this a strike but it really is the opposite of a strike because it's not the players who are refusing to play. It's actually what the owners have done. They've done something called a lockout, which is the opposite of a strike. So they are refusing access for the players into the baseball buildings. And so none of the baseball players are allowed to use any of their facilities at the moment. And essentially the dispute is over money. Again, the players have couching it in slightly different terms. So they're saying, well, it's really mainly about the salary for the younger players. There's this thing called - I think we talked about it before - tanking when baseball sides if they they've performed poorly in the first part of the season, they deliberately lose some of the later games in the season, so that they get more advantageous picks. So they want to try and stop that. And they want to try and stop the manipulation of some of the service time. What the owners of the baseball clubs want is they want the existing rules kept in place. Anyway, so on the first of December, the owners announced that they were going to lock out the players and that there will be no more baseball until an agreement was reached. So that means in the offseason, there were no trades, free agents weren't allowed to find new clubs, overseas players weren't able to get visas, players couldn't train. It also meant that the league couldn't use the players' images. So they would make money from famous baseball's players images. And they wouldn't be able to do that. Since the first of December, the two sides have only met four times. The last meeting only lasted 90 minutes, both sides left saying they were no nearer agreeing something than they were in November, the owners have offered arbitration for the players and the players have refused that arbitration. They have said looks too early, we're so far apart, that there's is really little chance of getting an agreement. And the reason you're offering us arbitration is to make us look bad when we turn it down. Yeah, so we're at an impasse, and it's not likely to be resolved very quickly. Spring Training starts on the 15th of February. That's for pitchers and catchers. They go back six days earlier, and then the full squad goes back on the 21st of February. And it's looking very likely that the spring training games, which are due to start on the 26th of February, will not start them. So it probably this issue is probably not going to get resolved until there's a necessity for either side to compromise. So that is unlikely to be I think until until March, and it could well go on. And we could see the baseball season be delayed until there's some sort of agreement.

 

Michael Moran  32:53

A couple of questions. So I'm interested to see. So it would appear to be that the players don't negotiate with individual owners. They negotiate with all the owners. So it's all the players and all the owners and negotiating. Is that correct?

 

Julian Bishop  33:12

individual players will negotiate with their clubs on their contract. But there are certain guiding principles which are set down in these collective bargaining agreements. It's those terms that they're disputing. And it's a very unequal sport baseball. You know, I'm not sure it's necessarily more unequal than premiership football. But the top 100 players get more than 50% of the earnings. And there are 1700 players, so 100 of them get more than 50%. So the median earning is somewhere around between naught point five and 1 million. And the younger players, they have to sign for a six year period start with, so they usually get very little money early on in their career, and they get their big paydays later on in their career. Those are the structural things that the union and the league negotiate, and then it's up for the individual players then to negotiate with their clubs.

 

Michael Moran  34:13

So second question, it seems that the move to lock out as got very got there very quickly. We always said there's a history of terrible industrial relations. Well, it doesn't seem to have been a prolonged negotiation period. It means the owners of straightaway said, Well, that's it. We're locking you out. Would that be fair?

 

Julian Bishop  34:34

Well, I think there was a lot of discussion before lockout happens, but after lockout has happened. The sides have only met each other four times. I think two of those were virtual. And I think it's really only a matter of a few hours that they spent discussing things. As I understand it. The way that the players get paid, is the players get most of their money once the main season starts. If you've got a 4 million contract, you don't get 4 million divided by 12 every month and get paid that every month, you get your money when you are playing when the seasons happening. So for the players, there really is low incentive for them to agree a deal until the season starts, because they don't usually get paid during that period, or don't get paid much during that period. And what the owners were trying to do by locking them out was stopping players getting contracts. So if you were a player and you didn't have a contract, you probably going to start worrying a little bit about whether you will get a contract or not. So it's all games, which are being played by both sides, as they go through this negotiation, I think it is unlikely that this is going to be resolved until we get near to a point where the players are losing money or losing a lot of money from this.

 

Michael Moran  35:56

And that was my next question. So we were pre emptive question around, when will people start to feel the pain? So you obviously if you're not playing baseball, you're not getting paid? But what about the onus in terms of presumably getting most of the revenue from television, as well as ticket sales? Well, when will they also feel that pain they did have a desire to negotiate?

 

Julian Bishop  36:17

Well, the owners will feel the pain slightly earlier, because they do obviously get revenues from spring training games, which are televised, and which crowds go to. So they are going to start missing those revenues from a couple of weeks time. This is one where the the owners and the unions have been in dispute really for the best part of 50 years. Players want more of the money that the the owners make from from running baseball.

 

Michael Moran  36:46

Yeah. When you gave the history, I was thinking that some industrial relations record, you know, put some miners or you know, the railway men in the UK, in the shadow, that's that's a long tourism running disputes. And and I suspect the history is now such that there's not a lot of trust, and I decide

 

Julian Bishop  37:06

it's not new grounds for them. You know, because there have been so many lockouts and strikes and players refusing to play and owners refusing to allow them to play. It's not new. So that happens again there so well, it'll be just like it was, you know, 20 years ago. And we know how we know we'll get through that. As a baseball fan, somebody who lives in Florida. Half of the spring training is in Florida, half of is in Arizona, I was really looking forward to seeing spring training. Yeah, they can't have no spring training. So they're going to have to have some spring training. But it looks like I'm going to be deprived of some of my spring training games.

 

Michael Moran  37:48

Yeah, no, that's what I was thinking about. I was going to go to Florida. Maybe I won't go this spring because they weren't watching any baseball. What about the perception of baseball as as, as a popular sport, then has this impacted on sort of the public's perception of following it? Or does absence make the heart grow fonder?

 

Julian Bishop  38:11

I wish I'd had the figures in front of me, Michael, but I don't. But baseball is a it's a major sport in the US, which is in decline. Okay. So essentially, football is the number one sport. And I suspect at this point, basketball is the number two sport. And I think that sports like soccer, are coming up hard and chasing baseball. And you've also got loads of other sports looking for a piece of the action, you know, ice hockey, they are even setting up a major league cricket league here. So there's a whole bunch of other sports which are looking to try and get that time. I was in America in 94, and 95 when the last big strike, and every American I spoke to was not at all sympathetic towards either baseball or baseball players. They saw their their amounts of money they're earning and then we're just, we're just angry really, that people should strike for more when they were getting so much and I think it is one of those unedifying experiences, you know, you can imagine people who really getting no money striking or people who whose conditions are terrible, but these are people who are doing stuff that they love doing outside and getting paid very well.

 

Michael Moran  39:32

Even the sort of lower more junior players have been paid well, so what what's the actual lower quartile salary for people you mentioned? Well, the top 50 Get?

 

Julian Bishop  39:44

The mean is 4 million. Yeah. And they're around about 1700 players. Most of those 1700 players get between half and 1 million a year.

 

Michael Moran  39:55

So it can be deemed a very comfortable living

 

Julian Bishop  40:00

Yes, what the players union is saying, and they're not wrong on this. They're saying, hey, but there are so many great young players who are really fantastic. Who are getting paid very little money, because they are, they've kind of locked into the six year contract with their first contract. So that's the union's position and the union aren't wrong, you know, the certainly the league are underpaying the very talented younger players.

 

Michael Moran  40:28

And assuming it's a short career as well, for most people

 

Julian Bishop  40:31

It's not particularly a short term career for pitchers may be many of the baseball players are in their mid 30s. Okay. So it's not particularly short. If you are a pitcher, you can destroy your arm and never play again. So it could be a very short career.

 

Michael Moran  40:46

So they put you on the spot, Julian, where do your sympathies lies with the owners or the players?

 

Julian Bishop  40:53

Neither of them they have to find a better way of agreeing these deals. The problem is, it's a little bit like Brexit negotiations, is that no one will ever give away on anything until the very last moment and maybe like every negotiation, but in a business environment. Usually both sides want to get the negotiation done and move on. And I wish that baseball would do that rather than this consistently going up and beyond the deadlines. It just makes it look a money grabbing sport.

 

Michael Moran  41:30

They will that's a very gloomy end the podcast. Julian, can you try and change the atmosphere? So Martin, either say what we're doing next time or gives some good news to end upon?

 

Julian Bishop  41:44

Well, I've got some good news. Do you remember Golden Corral, I pick up the buffet with eatery, which, which my daughters and their respective boyfriends hated so much. They've been in the news. Have you seen this?

 

Michael Moran  41:58

Only seen the prep you sent me, Julian. So I think it follows the line. Not that there were some restaurants we recommend. You don't go for the food. But the entertainment and Golden Corral is obviously in that category, isn't it?

 

Julian Bishop  42:11

Yeah, there was a massive punch up this week in Pennsylvania, or last week in Pennsylvania, where 40 customers got into a big fight exchanging punches hitting each other with chairs. Because someone cut in line pushed into the queue in order to get some steak. And there's some great video of this. The police were called 40 people were involved in a messy brawl. Food may be terrible. The hygiene very bad. But anywhere where you get to see a big boxing match or cage fight. It's got to be a good place to go. Wouldn't you say?

 

Michael Moran  42:49

absolutely. And so queueing generally in America do people queue responsibly is the word I'm looking for.

 

Julian Bishop  42:56

Yeah, it's not like Italy.

 

Michael Moran  42:58

Or France. And it was people fighting at the weekend in Pennsylvania had not been to france where queuing Is is an alien concept is every man for himself was so good at scrimmaging in rugby union, because you just pile it. Yeah. And and the one who gets the gets the deal.

 

Julian Bishop  43:15

It is normal for you to be in a line. As I understand it, there was an issue with a shortage. We are still having the shortages of various different foodstuffs there. There was a shortage of steak. I mean, it'd be low quality steak, but there was a shortage of steak. Somebody was pushing in, and then by them pushing in, they took the last of the steak, which then upset other people who have been waiting in line. Try and find it on YouTube, it should be fairly easy to find, as you find people, men and women punching each other, picking up chairs, smashing their chairs down on their opponents. All good fun.

 

Michael Moran  43:56

I'm not sure you were saying that responsibly, wouldn't we? We are not even encouraging people to have fights in restaurants. Oh, Julian?

 

Julian Bishop  44:02

[Long pause] No,

 

Michael Moran  44:06

that was the right answer, Julian. And on our next episode, we're also going to have another guest speaker with Julian. Somebody who is from South Africa who is going to give us a US perspective. Tell me more

 

Julian Bishop  44:19

going to interview somebody from who's born in Namibia and educated and worked in South Africa. But who has made this home in the US and so slightly different from our normal British perspective on America will be a Southern African perspective.

 

Michael Moran  44:36

I look forward to hearing it, Julian. So does that finish the podcast number 22? Do I think it does so it's goodbye for me Julian and it's

 

Julian Bishop  44:45

and it's goodbye from me.

Vision

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