We keep hearing vague promises from Major League Baseball that they want to have a “Spring Training 2.0” sometime in mid-June and a season beginning sometime in early July. Though a few dates have been tossed around, we haven’t heard anything concrete.
Until now, from Bob Nightengale at USA Today. Nightengale wrote this about plans from Commissioner Rob Manfred’s office:
Manfred and MLB attorneys plan to present an economic plan to the union by Friday, two people with direct knowledge of the negotiations told USA TODAY Sports, perhaps outlining with greater detail their projected losses in 2020. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were unauthorized to publicly discuss the negotiations.
The union is eagerly awaiting the proposal, and then can spend the Memorial Day weekend poring over it, formulating a counter-proposal.
That seems fair. What are the proposed dates?
They each are hoping an agreement can be reached by June 3. The players report to spring training on June 10. The regular season season starts July 1. And the entire postseason is completed by Halloween.
That really isn’t very much time. It’s May 21. As noted, we go into a holiday weekend after tomorrow, though what’s going to be closed for Memorial Day might not be much more than things that are still closed due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. June 3 is a week from next Wednesday, June 10 a week after that, July 1 three weeks after that.
Is five weeks enough for players and owners to break through the distrust they both feel regarding a deal that was made March 26? Negotiating “in good faith” was one of the tenets set down in that agreement if baseball games were to be played without fans, which certainly seems likely. Further, I would say that given the fact that overwhelming majorities of fans surveyed by Seton Hall University said they wouldn’t go back to games until there’s a vaccine, any and all baseball games this year would he played without fans.
Nightengale’s article is basically a plea for players and owners to figure out how to bridge the gap and come to an agreement to play baseball this year. I tend to agree with his claim that not being able to come to such an agreement would seriously damage the game.
That said, beyond the financial issues, the parties have to be completely cognizant of health and safety for players, coaches, support staff and anyone else who comes into contact with people who are part of the game. All of us who love baseball want to see it played, but with safety paramount.
Here’s hoping the stewards of our favorite sport figure out how to do that.