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Volume 26 No. 177
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Will MLB, Union Budge As Return-To-Play Plan Comes Into Focus?

MLB and the players' union are in negotiations over a return to play, and if the league "persists with its revenue-sharing idea, it stands to reason that the players would hold firm against it," as guaranteed salaries in a free market are the "underpinnings of their union," according to Tyler Kepner of the N.Y. TIMES. Owners "do not give unexpected profits to players, the thinking goes, so why should players give back money to help owners cover unexpected losses?" If the sides "satisfy the health question but kill the season over money, the long-term impact could be catastrophic" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/16). SI.com's Matt Loede wrote the players "deserve the deal they were presented and agreed to in March," and the owners "need to come to that conclusion sooner than later." If the '20 season "does not get played over money, it'll be on the hands of the owners, who over two months had a deal in place to play -- only to let greed get in the way" (SI.com, 5/15).

DON'T DO IT FOR THE MONEY: In Seattle, Matt Calkins wrote if players "don’t want to play because they fear for their health ... that’s fine." But what players should not do is "use this pandemic as a bargaining chip for more cash." If "financial greed somehow prevents America’s pastime from coming back into our lives, it will be a near irreversible blunder" (SEATTLE TIMES, 5/17). On Long Island, David Lennon wrote the MLBPA "hasn’t done a great job handling the PR side of this from the get-go," when both Exec Dir Tony Clark and agent Scott Boras "blasted away publicly at the revenue-sharing idea." In the court of public opinion, based on the past week, the union "took a big L." MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred "immediately swiped the high ground" from the MLBPA, whose "disjointed response -- and flat-out betrayal by former card-carrying members -- has them scrambling to present their own legitimate concerns." The union had a "clear path to make this all about the health-and-safety challenges of trying to play during a pandemic." Yet that has taken a "backseat to salaries and contracts" (NEWSDAY, 5/17). In Philadelphia, Bob Brookover wrote the problem for Rays P Blake Snell and his supporters is that they "have made this a financial fight rather than a health and welfare issue" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 5/16).

A PLEA FROM A-ROD: Alex Rodriguez "implored players on Friday to cave into the owners’ demands and accept a 50 percent split of the revenue MLB earns." He said, "This is like beyond anything we’ve ever seen before. I just urge the players and owners to think collectively. If there’s $100 in the pie, like the NBA, players take $50, owners take $50. And we give it to the fans. We thank the fans of baseball" (N.Y. POST, 5/17).