The spring training season was cut short and Opening Day was suspended – and still is – due to the health pandemic, COVID-19. As the months continue to come and go, will we see a baseball season? That remains to be seen. However, we are in June already and there doesn't seem to be a plan in place yet.
Talks between MLB and the MLB Players Association (MLBPA) have been going on and there was once a plan of a nearly 90-game season. A 114-game season, with player pay cuts, was on the table early on. Neither of those proposals went over. Now recently, as of Monday, June 8, negotiations continued to propose a 76-game season, ending on Sept. 27, with the postseason wrapping up by the end of October, according to reports. The league's proposal also includes 75 percent prorated salaries, playoff pool money and no MLB draft pick compensation for signing players.
The MLBPA countered that offer with a 89-game season on Tuesday, June 9. This offer included full pro-rated pay and a 16-team postseason in 2020-2021. This was a compromise from two weeks ago when the Player's Association offered a 114-game season with full prorated pay and a expanded postseason.
Here is a brief timeline of proposals and counter-proposals:
– May 26: MLB proposes 82-game season with sliding salary scale.
– May 31: MLBPA proposes 114-game season with full prorated salary and possible deferrals.
– June 1: MLB indicates willingness to pay full prorated salaries, but for a 48-54 game season.
– June 8: MLB proposes 76-game season with 75 percent prorated salary.
– June 9: MLBPA proposes 89-game season with full prorated salary.
This proposal also includes a $5 million fund to help with the minor league and charitable organizations that help with social justice initiatives, according to reports.
On the surface, I suppose this all sounds fine and dandy. I mean it seems like something should be done soon so there can be some sort of baseball season. There is a lot of business and money mumbo jumbo in these proposals, so basically it comes down to the players. It appears the league decreasing the players' pay for a shortened season, which might be understandable, but it seems like the amount is still less favorable than what the Player's Association is comfortable with.
It appears the owners are probably going to lose some money off of this season and they want to, in effect, take it out on the players through their proposals. I get that. To a certain extent. Still, something seems off with it. Maybe with an extended postseason, that will make up for some of that revenue? That too remains to be seen.
As the days pass by, an even shorter MLB season (probably around 50 games or so) might become a reality.
Additionally, in recent news the announcers for both television and radio will be doing the broadcasts remotely. Apparently this has been done in the past, and have, for the most part, worked well. This is to reduce the number of people traveling with the team and the number inside the stadium. All in observance of the COVID-19 restrictions. I'm not really sure how that will work, but evidentially, it has. So I guess I'll leave it at that.
But then the question might be asked if that would even by possible with the idea of a season dwindling away.
I am unclear as to how all of this will pan out. I'm sure something will present itself. Something always does, eventually.
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said recently there will be baseball this year, even if there is no new deal between MLB and the MLBPA. He almost guaranteed it, even if it means playing the 50 games or less scenario with prorated salaries. It may not be ideal, but there will be something since the players and fans are anxious to see some type of summer baseball fun.
Of course, the possibility of stadiums being empty because of COVID-19 restrictions is still on the table. So, that again is uncertain what will transpire. At this point, there seems to be too many variables and situations to get a accurate feel on what will happen.
So, in my mind, I like this last offer by the MLBPA. It still might not be the best ideal situation, but it at least gets the season going. Theoretically, the season could get underway by July (if not earlier), and the postseason could be wrapped up by the end of October. About the same time as it does now. I suppose it will really come down to the owners and the league, and how much money they're willing to part with after the season is over.
I'd say take it or leave it. Cut your losses. Look forward to next year.