The longer the dispute between MLB owners and players over the terms to a 2020 season goes on, the more it looks like an old-fashioned TV soap opera.
Don’t believe me? Look at this:
This week in Baseball:— Evan Grant (@Evan_P_Grant) June 18, 2020
Wed: 100% going to play
Mon: Not confident
Mon: Players disgusted
Tue: Manfred to PHX
Wed: Deal at hand!
Hour later: No deal, but close
Hour later: It's a framework
Hour later: Some progress
Tonight: Maybe we were in same room
And that’s just one week. Same as it ever was.
Here’s another thing that’s going to make you angry:
The difference between what MLB offered -- 60 games, full pro-rated pay -- vs. what would be required for 70 games and full pro-rata is basically the value of Stephen Strasburg's contract ($245m). Meanwhile, as the incrementalism continues, the sport is burning.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) June 18, 2020
$245 million. That’s $8.167 million per team, or about $1 million more than the Cubs were scheduled to pay Kyle Schwarber this year, had there been a full season. Or put another way: The average per-game price of a bleacher season ticket for 2020 is $47.90. $8,167,000 divided by $47.90 is 170,501, so that would be about the money taken in for 2,105 bleacher season tickets per game at Wrigley Field.
Granted, the Cubs have lost that money this year, either by refund or credit. But I have to believe they, and the other 29 teams, can find $8 million around somewhere. Here are some other things in the current proposal:
The league also offered a universal DH — something the union had sought in 2011 and ’16 collective-bargaining negotiations — for the next two seasons. In addition, the proposal included a $25 million postseason pool, $33 million in salary relief from the $170 million advance the players received and participation in a $10 million joint fund for social justice. In return, the league asked the union to consent to expanded playoffs in both 2020 and ’21 and also waive its right to field a grievance over scheduling. The 60-game season would take place over 70 days and begin July 19 or 20.
The 10 days off in the proposal seemingly leaves room for the parties to negotiate a greater number of games. One player agent estimated the final number could be 65, saying that figure with full pro-rated salaries would get players to 40 percent of their original projected earnings.
This constant back-and-forth, whipsawing fans’ loyalty and faith in the game, is going to kill the sport if these bickering parties can’t figure things out soon. I cannot tell you how many people I have heard from — in addition to those on this site — who have been loyal, dedicated baseball fans for decades, following the sport closely and spending money on it, who are just disgusted with the whole thing.
It shouldn’t really be that hard for owners to put a 70-game schedule with full prorated pay on the table. Right now, like today. As noted above, the 60-game schedule would begin around July 19. It would probably have players report for Spring Training 2.0 around June 28.
Have a little sense of urgency, guys! Back that up a few days and 70 games could be played instead of 60, especially since 10 off days over 70 days seems like a lot. While a 70-game season still isn’t quite half, it’s at least closer to what feels like a legitimate baseball season, given the pandemic that’s still going on.
And that’s another issue. We know that case loads of the coronavirus have increased in Arizona, Florida and Texas, places where five teams are located, and even California, home to five other clubs. Presuming play does begin next month, MLB will have to be very proactive about testing and keeping players away from large crowds where they could possibly pick up the virus.
A couple more notes and then I’m done, for this morning, anyway.
One thing that “the purists” are gonna hate:— Trevor Plouffe (@trevorplouffe) June 18, 2020
The owners have proposed being able to sell commercial advertisements on uniforms for 2020 and 2021.
Again, it’s in the proposal, which as many have reported is not a done deal.
I’m going to go on the record right now and say my level of caring about this is zero. So they put a small ad or two on the jersey, likely on the sleeve. So what? If that’s what it takes to give us baseball, go for it. Further, if you’re focusing on an ad on the jersey instead of the actual players playing baseball, you’re doing it wrong.
Adding to my HOF credentials I’m the last pitcher in history to have a 4 hit game https://t.co/IlG7p9GriP— dan haren (@ithrow88) June 18, 2020
The last pitcher before that to have a four-hit game? Carlos Zambrano, May 23, 2008 against the Pirates. He was the first Cubs pitcher to do that since 1964.
While I grant we will lose something without pitchers batting — and I’m sure I’m going to see some Bartolo Colon GIFs in the comments — those events are so rare that I’ll trade them off for not having to watch Cubs pitchers strike out in 40.5 percent of their plate appearances and hit .125/.166/.155, as they did in 2019.
Now isn’t this what you’d rather see me write about here? Actual baseball, even baseball history, rather than labor negotiations? Wouldn’t you rather be thinking about actual baseball games coming to a ballpark near you, even if said ballpark is empty?
Play ball, already. It’s way past time to get this done.
Baseball has tested the patience of its fans this year. Here’s how I feel about the sport in 2020
This poll is closed
I’m still all in
I’m out this year
I’m on the fence