We’re now past the point of Major League Baseball earning favor with fans upon its return. The expectation remains that there will be a 2020 season, but it’s looking more likely that it will be a mandated one as opposed to an agreed upon conclusion.
With the latest proposal from ownership across Major League Baseball, the Players Association has been presented another deal that changes wording and says virtually the same thing. Despite an agreement from March regarding full prorated salaries, the billionaire owners are looking for further concessions to stifle the losses they aren’t willing to substantiate.
Because of where we are in negotiations, and what is currently being proposed, a July 4th start date is no longer in play. The league has now moved to July 10, and a 76-game season is what they are suggesting. In reality though, the goal of ownership is to draw these discussions out for as long as necessary. That conclusion ends with a league mandated season in the 50-game territory. Prorated pay will then be granted to players, but only for just under one-third of their agreed upon salary.
In short, these two sides are so dug in against each other that ownership is willing to do nothing and allow the mediator the opportunity to make the deal.
There’s certainly reason to be frustrated as fans here. After all, it’s the consumer of the sport that ultimately loses the most. Players are dealing with precedence, and with this situation playing out just a year prior to CBA expiration it’s understandable wanting to avoid exploitation. Owners are in turn using a global pandemic to stick those CBA negotiation tactics in high gear, and despite having no public record of revenues ever, are now wanting the same public to believe in massive losses.
At the end of the day we’re being strung along on a roller coaster ride with the intended result tracking right towards where ownership groups want it. They’ll be able to claim the Union failed to come to an agreement, despite having never changed or offered a more logical proposal. Major League Baseball’s commissioner can be pointed as the scapegoat having to enact a mandated season, but ultimately, it’s his responsibility to drive labor peace.
Timing for a work stoppage in terms of sport will never be ideal. For Twins fans right now though, we’re losing out on what should be peak years of a World Series caliber club. The uncertainty of what lies ahead, and the competition being skewed with an ever-changing landscape of play is unfortunate at best. On a national scale we lose out on the midst of Mike Trout’s prime, or the final chases of Albert Pujols’ career. No winners can be crowned in all of this, only losers, and it’s yet to be determined who loses most.
Baseball is a sport of passion, and fans are entrenched in the record book and favor of the teams they support. The fallout left by what started as an uncontrollable negative and turned into a self-destructive blaze will be something present for many years to come. Baseball could have been so much different in 2020. It still can take place, but it will never be under the circumstances that were once there for the taking.
Sorry MLB, this time you failed, big.