Baseball players feel insulted they have to play under the conditions of 50-50 revenue split the owners set for them to play this season, especially since they would play under pandemic conditions, which they could have coronavirus as a result. They look at this as a salary cap scheme set by the owners.
Then, there is this Major League Baseball’s 67-page manual outlining safety protocols for return-to-play. Stuff such as no spitting, no showering at team facilities, no taking taxi and not going anywhere outside of the hotel. Consider this as hurdles.
All of them can be traced to one word: Posturing.
Common sense says when all is said and done, an agreement will happen between the players and owners. Both will give in, but at the end of the day, no one will care since baseball will be played. Baseball owners and players can’t afford to have a no baseball season in 2020 with many people dying and being laid off during the pandemic. With the NBA, NHL, WNBA, MLS, PGA, LPGA and other leagues bent on playing this summer, Major League Baseball can’t afford to be the only league to not play.
Owners would allegedly lose $4 billion with a no season in the words of MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, and players would not get paid. There’s nothing to gain and plenty to lose for both sides. Fans will blame both for no season since they couldn’t find a way to agree on anything to get this done. It’s not a negative public relations both have the stomach for.
Baseball lost the public going back to the 1994 strike. It used to be America’s pastime. Then, the NFL took over after MLB’s strike and did not look back. In so many ways, the sport never recovered. Players took steroids in an effort to boost their numbers and get people to watch them again, and owners knew about it and did nothing about it. Now, the younger generation express no interest in watching a nine-inning game any day of the month.
Today’s players know the average fan wouldn’t recognize them from the top of his or her head. They wouldn’t even be marketed well since no one cares.
Are the owners willing to lose revenue for missing a season? Would players want to risk bad public relations with what’s going on? The answer is no and no. It would be surprising if this happened. If it does, baseball will deal with a death sentence that it will not recover ever again. It may have lost the younger generation for good before it started.
There is no reason for a pro sport to miss a season at any time. Owners are wealthy, and baseball players are rich. If they can’t figure out how to find a common ground on issues, it’s on them since they were unwilling to agree on issues. If they are smart enough to make money, they should be smart enough to find an agreement that would make them happy.
It’s hard to take Blake Snell seriously about him wanting his money and so much. He knows nothing about negotiations. Pros such as Tony Clark and others will work this out while Snell has no choice but to deal with it. If Snell does not like the offer, he could choose to not play this season. Fat chance he will do that if baseball players agree to it.
Players may not like the agreement when the owners give in, but it would be better than nothing for at least this year. They know they are not going to the soup kitchen by not accepting what they think they deserve.
Owners know they would risk a bad business decision by not giving in. They are not as poor as they think they are. They can spread the wealth and give more to the players. They understand players serve as partners for the sport. Without players, owners would be hard-pressed to keep making revenue in baseball.
Here’s something players and owners better realize: The fans won’t care one way or another if there is no baseball. Not when there are so many sports options going on this summer. Remember the Stanley Cup Playoffs and NBA Playoffs dominate August, and then the NFL takes over in the fall.
It would behoove the owners and players if they did not come to an agreement.
They know they have more to lose than gain by not having a baseball season, so smart money says a season will happen.
As for 2022, don’t bet on it with MLB’s collective bargaining agreement expiring after 2021.
On the bright side, the Covid-19 pandemic may become a thing of the past by then.