MLBPA Sees League's Revenue-Sharing Proposal As A "Non-Starter"
MLBPA officials said that the league's proposed revenue-sharing plan is a "non-starter," believing that "such a system amounts to a salary cap, while the league disagrees," according to Rosenthal & Drellich of THE ATHLETIC. MLB "wants to make a major (if temporary) change to the sport's economic system, basing salaries only for this season upon the percentage of revenues generated by the sport." But league officials said that the one-time arrangement "should not be considered a cap because it includes no minimum or maximum payroll." However, the union has "long considered a system in which overall compensation is both reduced and tied directly to revenues to be a cap" (THEATHLETIC.com, 5/11). USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale cites sources as saying that the "historic revenue-sharing plan is integral in order to address revenue losses with an 82-game season being played without fans beginning in July." MLB officials said that clubs are "expected to lose about 40% of their gross revenue from ticket sales, concessions and parking." Nightengale notes the proposal was "initially shared with owners Thursday, revised Friday with owners on their executive committee and was voted on" yesterday. Sources indicate that the owners' proposal also "outlines details on scheduling, with the likely postponement of the All-Star Game, which was scheduled July 14 at Dodger Stadium." Nightengale notes under the proposal, training camps would "begin in June with an opening day set July 1-4" (USA TODAY, 5/12).
OTHER DETAILS: In N.Y., Tyler Kepner notes to "minimize travel, teams would play only against divisional rivals as well as teams in the corresponding geographic division of the opposite league." The postseason "would expand to 14 teams, from 10, with two additional wild cards in each league." The club with the best record in each league "would earn a spot in the division series, while the wild cards and other division winners would stage best-of-three series to determine the rest of the division-series field" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/12).
RIVERS TO CROSS: ESPN.com's Jeff Passan cited sources as saying that concerns about MLB's "handling of testing and ensuring as safe a working environment as possible will be an issue broached by players" today and in the coming days (ESPN.com, 5/11). In Boston, Peter Abraham notes two issues are "seen as potential hurdles: health and safety protocols for players." The safety concerns "could prove to be more difficult to overcome given all the variables associated with travel and the governmental approval needed in different locales" (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/12). In Chicago, Scot Gregor notes players "want to make sure there is testing in place, but they also don't want to take needed testing away from those that need it in the public." Nationals P Sean Doolittle took to Twitter yesterday to express "major concern about the dangers of coming back." He wrote, "We don't have a vaccine yet, and we don't really have any effective anti-viral treatments. What happens if there is a second wave?" (Chicago DAILY HERALD, 5/12). ESPN’s Mark Teixeira said, “I have it less than 50-50 that we’re playing. I just don’t see all of the health and logistical issues getting worked out, as well as the financial issues” (“Golic & Wingo,” ESPN Radio, 5/12).
AROUND THE COUNTRY: USA TODAY's Lacques & Axon contacted the mayors of all MLB cities, as well as governors in select states, and the "roughly one-third who responded revealed a caution to bringing back sports before data indicate it is safe -- something that could be weeks and likelier months down the line." Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said it is a “possibility” to have baseball return this summer without fans. But Lacques & Axon note while some states "start to cautiously reopen their economies, still others have extended stay-at-home orders and maintained restrictions on the size of gatherings." How soon both of those could be eased will "go a long way to determining when sports can return." The 12 mayors’ offices that responded all indicated that health and safety "would guide their decisions," and none "could say when restrictions could be lifted" (USA TODAY, 5/12). California Gov. Gavin Newsom "declined to promise that the state’s five big league teams would be permitted to play in their home ballparks." Newsom: "We’ll see where we will be in July" (L.A. TIMES, 5/12).