Olney: Can union chief find a way to fire up the hot stove?

If Tony Clark had asked, I would have suggested the Major League Baseball Players Association chief give a holiday read of Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book “Leadership: In Turbulent Times.” Within it, she writes about the different leadership styles of Herbert Hoover and Franklin Delano Roosevelt as they faced the nation’s worst financial crisis of their times — of any time.

As president, Hoover mostly did nothing and changed nothing, believing that the situation brought on by the Great Depression would correct itself. Once Roosevelt was inaugurated in the spring of 1933, he attacked the problems with an approach learned through the years when he went through rehabilitation for polio: If it’s not working, try something different.

In the first 100 days of Roosevelt’s presidency, he worked to spur the economy with sweeping proposals and changes, and, eventually, enough of the generated ideas created traction for a turnaround.

This is what the MLB players’ union so desperately needs right now: Engagement. Ideas. Dialogue. Negotiation.

Agent Jeff Berry wrote his memo, leaked last month and published last week, to spur conversation, to identify areas in which the players and the union could forge some unity and strategy. Other agents have been doing the same in other ways.

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