It appears the 2020 MLB season will be determined by the league office.
The decision by the MLBPA to no longer negotiate a set amount of baseball games for the 2020 season has left the league office with no other alternative to determine how many games will be played. It also means MLB commissioner Rob Manfred will set a date so that players and organizations can return to their practice facilities to begin preparation for a shortened season this summer.
I’m not sure how I feel about this other than disappointment that baseball should be the one thing that we as fans can count on to bring us together in times like these. The banter back and forth over negotiations of pay is the last thing I or anyone else who loves this game wanted to read about while the world is still dealing with a pandemic and numbers of cases continue to rise across our country.
Major League Baseball issued the following statement this evening:
“We are disappointed that the MLBPA has chosen not to negotiate in good faith over resumption of play after MLB has made three successive proposals that would provide players, Clubs and our fans with an amicable resolution to a very difficult situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The MLBPA understands that the agreement reached on March 26th was premised on the parties’ mutual understanding that the players would be paid their full salaries only if play resumed in front of fans, and that another negotiation was to take place if Clubs could not generate the billions of dollars of ticket revenue required to pay players. The MLBPA’s position that players are entitled to virtually all the revenue from a 2020 season played without fans is not fair to the thousands of other baseball employees that Clubs and our office are supporting financially during this very difficult 2020 season. We will evaluate the Union’s refusal to adhere to the terms of the March Agreement, and after consulting with ownership, determine the best course to bring baseball back to our fans.”
The Miami Marlins and 29 other Major League teams will play baseball of some kind. The season may not have as much meaning as it would have, especially if both sides could have agreed to a season of 80 games or more.
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Records, should they be broken, may have asterisks by them. It might be the most surreal season fans will see in my lifetime. This is about to change the sport as we know it. And as Buster Olney of ESPN.com and others have written, what happens this season – rather what doesn’t happen, will have a last effect on the game years from now.
The Miami Marlins haven’t played a game or practice since the middle of March. The lull of the summer has continued while players have waited to start preparing for the season again. While some players have been allowed to return to team facilities, the unknown has continued to be a constant reminder that the sport is still a long way away from being played.
“The Major League Baseball Players Association has rejected MLB’s latest proposal and will not counter, sources tell ESPN,” Jeff Passan wrote on his Twitter account.
“In a letter to the league, the union asked MLB to inform it of how many games it intends to play and when players should report.”
This just further complicates an already tenuous situation. The fear of there not being a season in 2020 is still a potential reality. For the fans, it’s been a constant reminder that the two sides – the owners and the MLBPA – have been bickering back and forth, trying to control the situation of prorated salaries versus when teams will play meaningful games.
Adding to the troubles of a shortened season is the money owners have already lost because the season has been placed on hold. Passan writes these owners will continue to lose money without the fans in the seats of the stadiums across the baseball landscape.
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