Nobody wants a major league baseball season with 50 games. The players want more games. The team owners want more games. The fans want more games.
But every day this scenario becomes more and more likely.
Monday was another daunting day for the players and owners, those controversial bedfellows who control the resumption of a sport that is still stubborn during the break. When the coronavirus pandemic closed spring training on March 12, the pages became concluded a new economic agreement in about two weeks. They also promised to have good faith discussions about the feasibility of a procedure without fans in the stands.
All these weeks later there is no indication that either side can negotiate an agreement. Without one, Commissioner Rob Manfred may, at its discretion, set a regular season schedule, which would mean that a season of approximately 50 games with full, pro-rata payment will end in October with the playoffs and World Series in October. (The player union must agree to a possible expansion beyond the current format after the season.)
Players agreed to receive pro-rated salaries in March based on the number of games they played in 2020, and have not turned away from that stance. Her refusal annoyed Manfred, whose latest proposal on Monday will certainly be rejected by the union.
The plan presented on Monday provided a schedule for 76 games that would bring players additional $ 200 million in wages if the postseason was over. But even in this scenario, players would only receive 75 percent of their pro rata salary.
This is a non-starter for the union, which is determined to show its determination against the backdrop of even larger negotiations the collective agreementst expires after the 2021 season.
A sample of player tweets on Monday afternoon showed that the owners’ new plan was largely ridiculed. St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty called it “the same business worded differently” while Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Andrew McCutchen just wrote: “lol.” Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer noticed “Playing about 47% of the games makes up about 35% of our full salary,” while Toronto Blue Jays infielder Travis Shaw took a wordless approach: a GIF by Judge Judy, shaking her head.
“It is frustrating to have a public labor struggle when there is so much hardship.” wrote Sean Doolittle, a pitcher for the Washington Nationals. “I hate it. However, we have a duty to future players to do the right thing for them. We want to play. We also have to make sure that future players don’t pay for concessions that we make.”
Before last winter, when the free agent market recovered after two sluggish off-seasons, many players and agents suspected that owners were working against them to keep salaries low. This suspicion rages again, which is reflected in the way the pages shape these discussions.
Ownership insists that these negotiations be carried out by future C.B.A. Talks because the unresolved problem – a lack of stadium income due to a pandemic – is unlikely to reappear. Players who believe that they have given too much reason in previous agreements, however, believe that further concessions will become precedents that can be used against them.
If the players put forward a counter-proposal – a big if – it could very well reflect the very different ways of thinking of the sides. The league is keen to protect its seasonally-earned earnings by closing the World Series from a possible second wave of coronavirus infections in the fall. The players contest this timeframe; Her last proposal for 114 games was for a postseason that would last well into November, if not longer.
The owners believe that they made concessions by withdrawing the idea of a sliding salary scale that players declined to offer and removing the rules for free agent remuneration this off-season. That was the problem that triggered a 50-day strike at the heart of the 1981 season that resulted in a playful playoff arrangement.
M.L.B. When the 1981 season resumed, the overall standings were reset so that the leaders in the first half automatically qualified for the playoffs. The teams played between 48 and 54 games in the second half, and the division winners of this late summer sprint also reached the postseason.
Baseball was lucky with a credible World Series matchup; The Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Yankees in six games in a battle of multi-year rivals. But the legitimacy of a 2020 World Series after only 50 games in the regular season, totalwould always be in doubt.
But baseball is heading here, unless the owner or the player suddenly moves uncharacteristically. Players seem willing to sacrifice millions to protect their principles, and owners don’t seem to be willing to bend further.
The gap is currently around 25 games and is getting smaller every day. Soon the sides of reality should face up and set the schedule. Then they have to promote it as vigorously as possible before the fans lose interest overall.