Copy. Paste. That’s what it feels like I should be doing here from one of the other, what, eleventy-billion articles just like this one over the last two months. But I won’t. Today the Major League Baseball Players Association turned down an offer for a 60-game season from the owners/Major League Baseball. The MLBPA then released this statement:
The MLBPA Executive Board met multiple times in recent days to assess the status of our efforts to resume the 2020 season.
Earlier this evening, the full Board reaffirmed the players’ eagerness to return to work as soon and as safely as possible. To that end we anticipate finalizing a comprehensive set of health and safety protocols with Major League Baseball in the coming days, and we await word from the league on the resumption of spring training camps and a proposed 2020 schedule.
While we had hoped to reach a revised back to work agreement with the league, the Players remain fully committed to proceeding under our current agreement and getting back on the field for the fans, for the game, and for each other.
So, why would the players turn down a 60-game plan where they are paid at their prorated pay? That’s a good question. The entire “when and where” situation seemed to be a plan to force the ownerships hand to set the schedule for a longer prorated season – about 70-ish games – and the owners played a stalling tactic. Their latest response didn’t change a whole lot in terms of what they were offering, though there were some very small concessions made.
The players still seem to be challenging ownership to set the schedule, forcing them to determine the length of the season. Either there’s something very big missing that we don’t know about between the agreement in March and the one offered that the players just turned down in, or the MLBPA is taking an enormous gamble that they can somehow still file a grievance and win based around the “play as many games as possible” part of the agreement.
That seems like a big gamble at this point given that with the date today, playing 60 games with the previously determined number of days needed for getting spring training 2.0 set and “played”, seems like it fits into the “play as many games as possible” scenario.
But NBC Sports baseball writer had an interesting theory, too.
How much you wanna bet he doesn't even 23 votes to impose a season. https://t.co/cWaRN2tMxQ
— Craig Calcaterra (@craigcalcaterra) June 22, 2020
There has most certainly been a lot of chatter that some teams don’t even want to play a 2020 season because of how much money they could lose. As recently as last week, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported he had heard as many as eight owners fell into that category. There are 30 teams and if they need 23 yes votes on implementing a season and there are 8 no votes, then Rob Manfred can’t get enough support to make that happen. And if that’s the case, then the players still hold the power of the grievance, which could cost the owners a collective estimation of up to a billion dollars.
With all of that said, there’s been an agreement to play baseball for three months. The owners, however, just didn’t like it. Whether it’s because they messed up, or whether they were lied to because their lawyers messed up – an agreement has been in place for a very long time. Instead of sticking to that agreement and getting things going, the owners and Major League Baseball offices as their negotiating team has played by the terms of “we’re going to do what we want to, this agreement means nothing because we do not like it”. They have negotiated, or tried to negotiate new terms that are far less than what the March agreement set, and they’ve been doing it for six weeks. The players, for the most part, have said no thanks to taking a far lesser deal than the one already under contract.
So here we are once again. Waiting. Wondering. Will Rob Manfred and Major League Baseball set a schedule? If he does, it sure doesn’t sound like it’s going to be tonight. Or tomorrow.
Update at 9:00pm ET
Well, it seems that Major League Baseball is going to implement a 2020 season for 60 games.