Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association continued their meetings and negotiations on Wednesday. Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported on many of the aspects of the meeting, which for the second consecutive day were focused on just about everything safety related and almost nothing financially related to getting baseball going again. There are plenty of safety concerns that the players would like to see addressed, as laid out by Sean Doolittle the other day. And there are also plenty of financial concerns on both sides, too, which we’ve talked about here at Redleg Nation before and will have a little more on below.
What’s in the safety protocols?
Within the article from Nightengale there are several things that Major League Baseball has checked off the list of things that used to be norms within the game. No more high fives. No more spitting. Players are being asked to avoid using public transportation, including things like taxi cabs, Uber, Lyft, or other “ride sharing”. While fans aren’t going to be allowed in games anytime soon, players are also being asked to avoid signing autographs or taking pictures with fans who hang out outside team hotels.
That stuff, of course, takes place away from the ballpark (except for the splitting and high fives thing). But when it comes to safety within the ballpark, there are some interesting things here. First is that MLB is not recommending daily blood tests, but is proposing daily temperature checks on anyone entering the stadium. The article notes that in Korea – where they have been playing games for over a week now – everyone is scanned once they park their car, they get tested before entering the ballpark, and everyone wears a mask.
They are still shooting for that first week of July start up time. But it’s the end of the season that is more worrisome it would seem. Nightengale notes that Major League Baseball is worried about the “second wave” in the fall/winter, and “the problem is that no one knows when that second wave is coming”. That’s led to baseball wanting the playoffs to be over at the start of November – scrapping a once thought out idea that they could play into December at more warm and neutral sites if needed.
Trevor Bauer and other players weigh in
Let me start off by saying that the video embedded below has some adult language within, so be forewarned about that if you are going to watch it. With that said, Trevor Bauer and his agent Rachel Luba sat down for another episode of Business Casual on Bauer’s Youtube channel and talked about a lot of things, including the money and contract situation around getting baseball going again.
The ask is basically take more risk by getting back sooner and take less pay than we’ve already agreed. We’ve already agreed to take, 50 percent pay cut and now they’re asking us to take another pay cut,” said Bauer. “(A 50-50 revenue split) has never been done in baseball. It’s not collectively bargained. It would just be for this season. It doesn’t sit well with me. Slightly lighthearted, but if I’m gonna have to trust my salary to Rob Manfred marketing the game to make more money for the game, I am out on that.
The first sentence there seems to be the major hang up between the two sides when it comes to money. The players believe the deal agreed to in late March was good to go. On the other side the owners believe that it was contingent upon fans being allowed to attend games, and now that they see no way that’s going to happen, they want to renegotiate the deal.
As we noted above, the two sides haven’t even really gotten into financials yet at the digital negotiating table. But more than a few current players are speaking out on the money issue in rather uncertain terms – they aren’t willing to take a pay cut further than the one that they have already agreed to take. Whether that’s Bauer, or Blake Snell, or the 100 or so players represented by Scott Boras that he says are willing to play right now if they get paid their already agreed upon salaries from March.
thanks for the updates Doug! is the fan attendance ban a federal law, state law or just recommendation by the CDC/NIH? Could you see owners going “rogue” and opening up seating for fans?
None of it is “law” as much as it’s an order put in place by local health officials (local meaning state, county, city).
And no, I absolutely can not see an owner deciding to go rogue against the guidelines/orders put in place.
It might vary from state to state but these orders can be enforced at the least via civil penalties, i.e. fines or enforced shutdowns. In some states, it could eventually become a criminal situation if violations persisted.
Yep, they are going for it. Let’s hope things turn out well.
Typical Trevor all about himself. I hope the league plays and guys like Bauer and Snell don’t play. These guys don’t have a clue what it is like for the 33 million Americans who filed for unemployment. Yet these guys refuse to play for one season where they will get paid more than most Americans will in a decade. When are pro athletes going to learn to just go out and play hard and let the rest take care of itself? It’s players attitudes like this that turn me off toward following and watching the Reds.
The owners, though, they absolutely know what it’s like for 33 million unemployed Americans don’t they?
Great post. I do believe though that if the players do decide to play they SHOULD be considered heroes. Maybe not to the level of Ted Williams status, but heroes nonetheless.
And i hope that is the way the owners are presenting their case. Baseball can really gain a ton of popularity and maybe reclaim some fans they lost after the strike year.
Funny that you bring up soldiers…. because if you’ve contracted this virus you are no longer allowed to be one in the United States of America.
But also, BASEBALL PLAYERS DIDN’T SIGN UP TO PUT THEIR LIFE AT RISK. So the comparison to a soldier is truly a stupid one.
Why attack the players? In essence the owners are asking to have the players take on more risk without any real benefit. Their contracts are guaranteed and agreed to. The league is capable of suspending contracts at any point under a state of emergency. If this was truly about not wanting to pay out the salaries, then the league would simply do that. No it’s asking the players to put themselves at more risk to subsidize the losses that some ownership groups are going to experience. There is a risk every time that a player steps into the batters’ box, that risk is agreed to by the players, this public health crisis is not a risk that was bargained into the contracts to begin with, and the players already agreed to taking a pay cut, a refusal to take less money in bad times, while seeing none of the profits from the good.
A quote that I found from FanGraphs’ Craig Edwards.
“The owners are trying to make the return of baseball about money. They want the reward without the risk because that’s what they’ve grown accustomed to after years of incredible revenue and increasing profits. The players negotiated a deal with the understanding that if it wasn’t safe to play, they wouldn’t have to. For MLB to try to use the fact that it is currently unsafe for fans to attend games as a reason for players to subsidize their potential losses reflects poorly on the owners and the Commissioner. After negotiating a CBA that turned out to be a huge win for the owners, the players knew they would have to wait five years for another crack at the Bargaining Table. The owners waited five weeks before crying poor.”