Another day, another proposal between the owners and the players. On Tuesday night the Major League Baseball Players Association sent a proposal to Major League Baseball for an 89-game season according to Jeff Passan of ESPN. Much like the previous proposal that had 114 games on the schedule from the players, this was deemed as a non-starter rather quickly.
Why was it a non-starter? Well, the players proposal would send the regular season into October, which the owners absolutely aren’t going to budge on. The stated reason is that they are worried about a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic cancelling the playoffs. But what might be the actual reason is that the television networks that have the rights for the playoffs do not want to move the dates for games.
And then, of course, there’s this tweet from The Wall Street Journal’s Jared Diamond:
The owners don't consider the union's proposal to be moving the ball even a little. "They are not trying," one person on the management side tells me.
— Jared Diamond (@jareddiamond) June 10, 2020
Let’s talk about “not trying” real quick. Major League Baseball has made three proposals over the last month to the players. Every single one of them has resulted in the exact same amount of money being offered to the players IF the playoffs were to be completed. The number of games were changed, but the total amount of money hasn’t.
The players have made two offers to Major League Baseball, and their proposals have been quick and they’ve been different. The players have stuck to the fact that they expect to be paid a prorated by games played salary – a deal both sides agreed upon in March, with renegotiation on that if the owners could show that it was not financially viable, which they haven’t been able to do. The first proposal by the players was for 114 games. That deal was turned down quickly – both for salary reasons and because it took the season through October before beginning playoffs. The deal on Tuesday was for 89 games.
Let’s look at what that means for the Cincinnati Reds, specifically: The difference between the salary paid to the Reds players over 89 games versus 114 games would result in $21,600,000 being saved in player salary. Let’s just call it $20,000,000 per team across the league (some will be more, some will be less), that’s the players taking a $600,000,000 hit versus their previous proposal. Even if it’s HALF that (I didn’t run the numbers for each team – it’s been a long day), how is that “not trying”, when the owners literally have just made the exact same offer to the players three times? One side is actually trying to negotiate and the other is doing something that NBC Sports Craig Calcaterra put it:
MLB: We'll give you 40 cents on the dollar
MLB: Well, then, how about a quarter, a dime and a nickel on the dollar?
MLB: How about this: four dimes. Deal?
Press: Both sides are blowing this! https://t.co/Hq9qTcuM7C
— Craig Calcaterra (@craigcalcaterra) June 9, 2020
Looks like a 50-game 2020 season to me. Hey, maybe we will get lucky as fans and Manfred will implement a 60-65 season.
It feels like both sides are more focused on winning today and losing the future of the sport (via declining popularity).
The only real question left is if players will block expanded playoffs.
Both sides mistakenly believe that the game cannot be killed. Look at what it has survived in the past, right? Wrong, in my opinion.
Let me rephrase. The game itself cannot be killed. The business of baseball as it is currently being conducted is at tremendous risk. People whose lives have been changed in mostly negative ways are not going to listen to owners who say that billion-dollar entities are not profitable and a players union with a minimum salary (in normal years) of nearly $600,000 both unwilling to capitulate.
Both sides are making the mistake of assuming that the business of Major League Baseball is so ingrained in our culture and lives that it will survive anything. I don’t agree.
Personally, at this point, I would take a season in the range of 60 to 70 games, and then playoffs with eight teams per league. Assuming best-of-seven series, the team that ultimately wins the World Series would have perhaps as many as 20 to 25 more games.
Hopefully for baseball and all concerned, it will not fizzle.
One of the local TV stations where I live in Madison, Wisconsin has a former ESPN guy as the evening news anchor. Last night on the 6 p.m. news he mentioned the new proposal and said something to the effect that there are reports that there might be an agreement as early as Wednesday. Because of his ESPN background, I took him seriously. But I have found nothing anywhere that indicates that is so, unfortunately.
Tom, you’re in Madison? That’s just a shot up Hwy 12. In safer times we should have a beverage! When the Reds make the playoffs this “season.”
Sounds like a plan, Matt!
Hey Guys Include me too.. Im in Sheboygan, WI..
Hopefully this thing gets cleaned up.
i will take almost any amount of real games to be played. Getting no value from my pre-paid MLB.TV subscription (like many people). Right now, I will not be renewing over the winter for 2021. The only way I will renew is if there is a 2021 discounted price for those that paid for 2020 or there is a full refund of 2020 cost if no games are played or a partial refund for the % of games that are paid.
Any rate, I will not be happy with paying full price for something and only getting 1/3rd or none of what was promised at the time of purchase. The baseball owners are defrauding the public as many have prepaid for services that are not being delivered.
If no season occurs, the owners better start refunding pre-paid tickets, advertising money already paid to them (programs, stadium signs, etc…) and many more items or get ready for a steady stream of lawsuits and spending more money on lawyers from an very angry public and businesses that will have been defrauded by MLB owners.
If they do offer an option for a full refund or that 2021 is already paid so not have to refund 2020 dollars, my gut tells me that there are lawyers waiting to file class action suits against MLB and each of the teams teams for breach of contract and fraud.
Don I’m in the same boat. Not going to renew unless there is a discount given cause I basically said here take my money for nothing this year.
Very sad about how MLB is handling this whole situation.
I emailed them in the beginning of this and they refunded my money rather quickly. I was on the auto renew with MLB.TV. I just initially asked about a discount because of the delay of the season but they refunded the entire amount.
Doug I think you’ve made your stance on this subject clear and as much as I love these sites your personal biases are getting tiring. You keep getting on here and banging your drum about the big bad owners trying to take advantage of the innocent mistreated players and it’s just getting old. Both sides seem to have been of equal blame throughout this process. Neither side has put what’s better for baseball over their own interest but it’s a business for BOTH the players and the owners so that shouldn’t be a surprise.
No, both sides do not have anywhere near equal blame here, Chris. Again – the owners have made three proposals that have offered the players exactly the same amount of money regardless of the number of games they play. The players have made proposals where they’ve actually taken less money with each proposal. One side isn’t actually negotiating – they are taking a full on “we are only spending $XYZ and nothing more, you can decide how many games you want for this amount of money”.
I worked 30 years in a business with employees covered by a union. This is common practice for owners of a business. They come in with a lopsided proposal expecting the employees to take it. They get denied and the employer comes back again and again with the same proposal saying it’s all they can give. In the end they give more and the employees take less than what they hoped to get. Its what is called bargaining. Nobody gets everything they want but both sides get something to satisfy themselves. The Employer uses bullying tactics everytime. It’s about togetherness. Build the business to be big and profitable. Everybody gets a piece of the profits. Without the Employer the employees are nothing and without the employees the Employer is nothing. Somehow that is lost at the negotiating table.
No Doug you are wrong. Depending upon how you measure the risk of a playoff the owners proposals are the same as the original agreement.
The player two proposals are for 238% of the agreed proposal and 185% of the agreed proposal.
Maybe the owners first offer should have been to play for free. Then if the second offer comes and you play for 50% of your salary you are happy because they gave up something from their first proposal.
The players are wanting much more than they agreed to in March and the Owners want to pay what they agreed to in March. And it is the owners fault for not wanting to stray to far from a contract signed in March.
We could make a bingo card with numbers from all the various game proposals thrown out by both sides.
And the owners do suck. The contraction in the minor leagues hardly merited comment but I guess not surprising compared to all that’s going on in the country. Still it’s a sad loss of some Americana and does it really save them much money in the big picture?
Didn’t the players also refuse a 50/50 revenue split for the upcoming year? (I read that in an article but I’m not sure accurate it was)
If that is the case they are refusing what would seem fair to both parties. That would also put the players at a higher percentage than the other major sports.
And again just to clarify my point is not that the owners are of no blame I just don’t think the players are as innocent in all this as it seems you do.
No, the players never refused a 50/50 split on revenue. That proposal was never actually made to the union. That proposal was leaked through the media to get a reaction, which from the unions standpoint was “non-starter”. MLB then decided it wasn’t worth pursuing.
And I’d argue that no, it’s not fair for both parties considering that teams hide all kinds of baseball revenues as “non-baseball revenues”. Things like selling BAMTech for $2,700,000,000 and saying it’s not baseball revenue when the word baseball is literally in the name (that’s what the B stands for). Or where teams took less money on television deals to gain ownership stakes in their regional sports networks, where any money they make from owning that station is “not baseball revenue”, when the only reason they got that money is because they traded it for baseball games being on television. At every single turn the owners are trying to squeeze out every last penny they can away from the players. Taking a “50-50” revenue split should be a non-starter for the players because MLB teams hide a whole lot of revenue they make from owning teams as “not baseball monies”.
Lets see if I get this right Doug.
Initial agreement was to play 48 games at pro-rated salary.
Players first proposal was 114 games at pro-rated salary.
Players second proposal was 89 games at pro-rated salary.
Expense to the Reds based upon what you have above ($864,000 per game)
Original agreement: $41.472 million
Players first proposal: $98.496 million
Players second proposal: $76,896 million
I guess I am not as good at math as I thought I was but why would an owner tear up an agreement to pay his players 41 million and sign one to pay them 98 million. The players second proposal pays them 85% more than what the players union agreed to be paid in March.
As for the owners position. Why would they be expected to take 100% of the hit if no playoffs occur if they are playing in their home stadiums. They lose control of the situation by not having the ability to quarantine players. Players seem to want freedom but are unwilling to take the risk that comes with this freedom.
No, that’s not correct. The agreement was players would get a prorated salary for as many games as were playable. Assuming health protocols could be agreed upon, the players were in for however many games MLB wanted to play. There was not an exact number.
Two problems with this second proposal.
1. It is 85% more than what was agreed to in March.
2. Players are unwilling to take any risk associated with this extra pay.
If you want more be willing to make sacrifices, take on risk or refuse to play.
My guess is that if the players came back with a counter to the owners proposal of playing games in FL, AZ and TX and being quarantined for 13 weeks the owners would accept the 76 game schedule at a higher % than 75%/50%.
But the players want to make more money with zero risk and inconvenience. I am with the owners here. If you want them to take on risk you have to pay them to do so. That is what I liked about the owners last offer. It is the only offer by either side to include a risk element since the original offer.
To make it short and simple. The owners are the bad guys in this. They should just honor the previous agreement about the prorated salaries and move on with whatever losses they might have to absorb for a season. They’ll get if back eventually anyway as fans will appreciate them for it. If baseball goes down this year the owners will lose far more. The fans understand what’s going on and do not like it one bit.
I think 81 games with double the playoff teams is the only way to go for this season to have any legitimacy. I don’t care how they divvy up the money.
Btw, there is a nice story in The Atlantic this month on Joey Votto.
Count me in for a Madison area Reds playoff game viewing! I’m in the Fitchburg area. Great to know there are some other Reds fans around.
Wow I’m amazed how many Wisconsin Reds fans we have on this page. Pretty awesome if I might say so.
Agreed! Will for sure need to get together for a playoff game.
Jay, are you from Wisconsin?
Yup Sheboygan 🙂
Dang! We may have to organize something at Miller Park when the Reds are in town! (Depending on COVID status, of course.)
Sounds like a plan!
As the teenage flagbearer, who later became the father of General Douglas Macarthur, yelled at the Battle of Shiloh, ‘On Wisconsin.’
Id would be for that would be fun to meet some of the great people on here that share one of my biggest hobbies, Baseball!!!
Hey just read that the commissioner said on MLB today that there will be baseball someway this season. Even if that means resorting back to the march agreement that was put in place. The Owners plan to make a new counter proposal in the next few days that moves more toward what the players are asking for according to the commissioner too. How far they move closer to it who knows.