When I decided to write an article about the current negotiations between the Major League Baseball ownership group and the MLB Player’s Association I decided to spend a little time, uncharacteristically, actually doing some research on the topic of labor relations between the two groups, one a millionaires club, the other a cadre of billionaires. My conclusion: It would be better if baseball decided to pass on a truncated and illegitimate 2020 season.
I could go into the bad faith on both sides of the bargaining process. Buster Olney does a very good job of that with this article. Let’s summarize a long and acrimonious negotiation in this way: the MLBPA is very angry about the ownership’s collusion (Let’s get real here and call it what it is) over free agency signings; MLB owners are treating their teams as financial properties solely and they resent the power players have. As such, we basically have billionaire owners more or less oblivious to their role as stewards of America’s past time, treating their teams as corporate holdings and money-laundering assets. Very few owners actually care about winning or making an impact in their communities. I could name names but it would be a super long list. Just look at all the tanking and all the greed and you will see what I mean.
So, Rob, explain to us how you can be 100% sure that there’s going to be baseball but not confident there will be baseball at the same time? hmmm. What changed between those statements 🤔🤔 Players told you to set the season, but it’s too early to set the season right now,
— Trevor Bauer (@BauerOutage) June 15, 2020
The players, for their part, are backed into a corner. The owners have not offered a fully pro-rated salary for the players to get back on the field in 2020. The owners claim they are losing billions even if they play games because the stands will be empty. The players counter with a demand for financial transparency asking the owners to show their books… The owners counter with “Get Real!”
At this point, the Commissioner, Rob Manfred is now walking back from his claim that “Absolutely, baseball will be played this season.” He can still invoke an emergency clause forcing players onto the field for at least a 50-game season but that does not mean the players will comply. Basically we have the perfect storm of Covid-19 weirdness, ownership greed, MLBPA bad blood, and a clock running out on what could plausibly be called a legitimate baseball season.
Andrew Mccutchen made a cute twitter video to demonstrate the lack of good faith on behalf of ownership concerning prorated salary pay.
The League and players explained in Father/son duo titled “Juice vs Water.”
(Forgive my delayed voice) pic.twitter.com/9Zi8ncvpQW
— andrew mccutchen (@TheCUTCH22) June 12, 2020
This is why it makes little to no sense to start a truncated season in August. Many players are thinking the same thing, saying a World Series Championship after only 2 months of baseball would be tainted at best, a joke, at worst.
Throw in the weirdness of having to watch games with empty ballparks and you get the picture. Maybe, as the old saying goes, some games are better than nothing, is simply not true in the case of the 2020 baseball season. To make matters worse, there is no guarantee any baseball will be played next year either. There are so many question marks regarding player health, ownership liability, and the expiring labor agreement. It is going to basically take an act of God or a very fast vaccine before we go back to Pre-Covid baseball.
Maybe we are meant to use 2020 to focus on other things like saving our planet, our country and working on becoming better people. Maybe we should focus our baseball-less lives on reading good books, helping others in need, and finding fulfillment away from our televisions and computers… Just sayin’…