Less than a week ago Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said that there would unequivocally going to be a season in 2020, with the likelihood being at 100%. Today he had a very different opinion on things, telling Mike Greenberg of ESPN “I’m not confident. I think there’s real risk; and as long as there’s no dialogue, that real risk is gonna continue,” said Manfred when asked if he was confident there would be a season.
After a whole lot of back-and-forth in negotiations, where the owners and Major League Baseball offered nearly an identical salary to the players, just said in different manners four different times, the players told them we’re done negotiating – just tell us the length of the season, and when and where to show up and let’s play. The MLBPA gave MLB until tonight to respond. Apparently that didn’t go so well.
Everyone’s favorite social media personality in the baseball sphere (that isn’t a player), Jomboy put it best:
Welcome to negotiating in bad faith 101, the 2020 Baseball Story pic.twitter.com/wA8q4mDsvg
— Jomboy (@Jomboy_) June 15, 2020
And it turns out he nailed it, too. Bill Shaikin of The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Major League Baseball told the MLBPA that there would be no season in 2020 unless the players waived any legal claims against the league.
Translation: We won't play unless you waive a potential grievance.
— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) June 15, 2020
JJ Cooper of Baseball America expanded on that potential grievance:
Translation, MLB is not confident that it would win a grievance if it instituted a 50-54 game schedule, since the March agreement said it would make "best efforts to play as may games as possible." https://t.co/x6nX31tysH
— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) June 15, 2020
The owners had their bluff called and now they don’t know what to do. The players said mandate the season as per our agreement in March and we’ll show up to play. Ownership then had no answer to the request. They never had any intention of making this happen. The hope was that it would get the players to break the previous agreement, and when it didn’t, they then tried to say “we’ll only play if you don’t sue us for breaking this contract” knowing that it very much won’t work that way.
From ESPN and Jeff Passan, this quote from Rob Manfred is painful to read:
The owners are a hundred percent committed to getting baseball back on the field.
Is that so, Rob? Because if they were, there’d be spring training 2.0 happening right now and we’d be about two weeks away from starting the season. Instead we’ve got you sitting here today telling the world you aren’t confident baseball is going to happen this year because the owners don’t want to honor the contract that they signed in March.
I’m starting to think that Rob Manfred doesn’t understand what 100% is.