First Samuel Gompers, Now the 2008 Boston Red Sox

1206026710The Red Sox had the shortest labor dispute in recent memory yesterday. When the players found out that coaches and support staff wouldn’t receive the $40,000 appearance fee for the team’s opening series in Japan, they walked off the job until Major League Baseball agreed to pay up. Now the players are being celebrated for their selflessness, and rightly so.

But we would appreciate it if they could have held out a little longer and helped solve another problematic contract dispute—the one between Mayor Tom Menino and the Firefighters Union.

We know Mayor Menino is a huge Red Sox fan, and we’d wager that Union President Ed Kelly enjoys a summer night at Fenway Park as well. A love of the Sox is probably one of the few things the men have in common anymore after their constant sparring over mandatory drug testing, the questionable results of a report on why two firefighters died in a West Roxbury fire last summer, and the city’s preparedness for an LNG tanker explosion in Boston Harbor.

The firefighters haven’t had a contract since 2006, and the bickering has grown more acrimonious and petty as time wears on. It seems that a resolution to this conflict will come only if there’s a monumental shift in the landscape. And the way to make that happen is to stop playing baseball.

We’re a city that’s desperate for spring. We want the Sox to begin defending their 2007 World Series Championship yesterday. If the nine men refused to take the field until the firefighters had a contract, the public outcry would be immediate and deafening. The Mayor and the union would have no choice but to sit down and work something out, lest an angry mob besiege City Hall demanding the return of Jacoby Ellsbury.

Come on, Red Sox. Do it for public safety.