Despite a global health crisis, it isn’t a pandemic that has ultimately thwarted the resumption of Major League Baseball in 2020, no instead it’s those directly involved with the game. Regardless of fault, fans are on a roller coaster ride they never signed up for, and it’s hurt the sport substantially.
Today the Major League Baseball Players Association will vote on whether they’ll accept or reject Major League Baseball’s proposal for resumption of play. 38 voting members will give a yay or nay with a majority vote needed to cement a decision one way or another. The expectation is that the proposal will be rejected on the grounds of not wanting to lose an opportunity to grieve the circumstances in court.
What we really have is posturing, and it’s what we’ve had during so much of this process, and what baseball labor negotiations have become synonymous with. Owners and players don’t trust each other at all, and it’s why every renewal of the CBA ends up coming with a significant possibility of lockout.
It wasn’t until recently that Rob Manfred and Tony Clark got in a room together to has things out. Both sides came out of that meeting with different understandings of what took place, and it only furthered a battle that has played out with public barbs being fired back and forth. Regardless of the structure imposed by the current deal, it would seem to be a non-starter for players in that acceptance represents failure of sorts.
I’ve long operated with the belief that there will undoubtedly be baseball in 2020 (barring a shift in circumstances regarding the virus), but that I have no idea what it would look like. The initial suggestion of a full season seemed laughable, but so too does the suggestion of an implemented 48-game playthrough. We’re obviously much closer to the latter than former at this point, and it’s because of all the feet dragging that we’re here.
Siding with the players should be an easy choice in this whole battle, but the reality is that both parties have dug in so harshly what we as fans are left with is a bastardized version of what could’ve been. Finances tied directly to games played left us with one side looking to cut down the calendar, and the other trying to recoup as much of their income as possible. It isn’t a matter of what we want to play at this point, but instead what the calendar will allow for.
So again today, when there’s a vote on whether the season should start under a certain set of conditions, we’ll likely be left waiting. One side’s disagreement will shoot down the opportunity for an official announcement, and like the many weeks and days of vast importance before it, the day will again be wasted.
Tomorrow and going forward Rob Manfred, who has failed miserably in providing any direction or leadership while instead allowing his sport to burn, will need to decide whether or not he’ll implement a season. The players agreed to that possibility back in March, and it’s a scenario that makes all too much sense not to fulfill. Then again, we’ve crossed plenty of these bridges already throughout this process and they all still remain smoldering.
I still believe we’ll have baseball in 2020, but the waiting has turned away many future fans forever, and it’s cost the current one’s significant amount of trust for ultimately no necessary reason.