MLB's Rejection Seen As Blow To Chances Of Having Season
MLB yesterday rejected the MLBPA's proposal of a 114-game season and "told the union it would not send a counter, again leaving the parties deadlocked in their quest to begin the 2020 season," according to Rosenthal & Drellich of THE ATHLETIC. Sources said that the league also informed the union it has "started talks with its owners about playing a shorter season without fans, and that it is ready to discuss additional ideas with the union on that subject." However, the impasse over player pay "shows no sign of abating." MLB is "entertaining playing a season as short as 50 games." A scenario "exists in which players would earn more total dollars playing 80 or so games at a per-game discount than 50 or so at full price." The league has "not proposed such a scenario -- the idea, for now, is hypothetical." But the math for this year's pay is "not the only factor for players." The players' proposal for 114 games and the owners' suggestion of 50 "does offer one potential glimmer of compromise" -- the "midpoint of those two numbers is 82" (THEATHLETIC.com, 6/3). In N.Y., Joel Sherman wonders, "Even if the players agreed to a shorter season and the full prorated pay, is that going to be self-defeating to the industry?" There already are "asterisk-level credibility questions that would arrive with an 82-game campaign." Sherman: "What if it were 48 games?" There still is "so much to work out and time dwindling" for a season restart (N.Y. POST, 6/4).
ONE OWNER'S TAKE: ESPN’s Jeff Passan noted one owner this week told him, "We’re going to play baseball.” Passan: “His perspective was if the union doesn’t come to play here, we’re just going to tell them this is what you have to do. We’re going to set a schedule and you’re going to abide by it. In truth, there’s nothing that the union can do about that. In terms of a strike, can’t do it. It would be an illegal strike. It would be against the collective bargaining agreement. It would be overturned immediately" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 6/3).
BLEAK OUTLOOK: In Houston, Chandler Rome writes MLB in rejecting the MLBPA's proposal has left negotiations "at an impasse" and now there is "serious wonder whether the sport will return" in '20 (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 6/4). In DC, Dave Sheinin writes the "apparent deadlock over the past couple of days has left the sport's chances of getting on the field this year at their bleakest" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/4). In Boston, Michael Silverman writes yesterday's development is a "large step backward in talks that had been going forward with baby steps as the sides tried to maintain their economic interests" (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/4).
CALLING THEIR BALK: On Long Island, David Lennon writes, "We all got fooled into thinking early on that the goal here was to play baseball again, to help heal the nation, yada, yada, yada. Nope." This was about "weaponizing the process, turning the economics into bloodsport, to keep score on everything but the games that may never happen as a result of this turf war" (NEWSDAY, 6/4). In L.A., J.P. Hoornstra writes the monetary concerns of an owner or players are "truly mind-wracking if you view baseball only as a civic institution." Yet monetary concerns are "what is holding up a new season." The effect is a "hopeless fan base held hostage" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 6/4). In N.Y., Tyler Kepner writes this was a "chance for both sides to recognize and work together toward a greater good that would have helped them all." If that had been the "backdrop of these talks, they could have agreed by now on the particulars." Kepner: "Give a little here, take a little there, and let's play" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/4).
HOLDING OUT HOPE: In St. Louis, Derrick Goold writes this is how both sides "orbit a solution -- trying to get the right gravitational pull on one side that draws the agreement their way, while ceding on the other side." Even when the rhetoric "seems divisive and deafening," there is "cause for optimism, because as long as the two sides are talking they are identifying and revealing what they are willing to give to get." Goold: "They're called negotiations, after all" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 6/4).