The growing expectation is that the Players Association will not provide a financial response to the initial MLB proposal in time to reach an agreement before the Monday June 1 deadline to restart the game on Independence Day weekend. .
So, let’s start a seven-question game on that topic:
1. Does the deadline matter? Not really. The general feeling has been that the parties have until next weekend, perhaps another day or two, to reach an agreement that allows the teams to meet for the weekend of June 12-14 and have three weeks. training session 2.0 and start the season. 3rd of July.
2. So next weekend is the deadline? A little Sorta And no. The best outcome for the game is renewing the national pastime on Independence Day weekend. But there is no rule that should start then. For example, it could start on August 1 with the regular season extended through October and a postseason, perhaps on neutral sites, played in November. But MLB warned that colder weather could trigger a stronger wave of the coronavirus, jeopardizing the postseason, when owners make their biggest payout on national television. In addition, there is concern that national television partners have scheduled openings in November that are already reserved for October.
3. So why wouldn’t it be done this week? Maybe I will. A fruitful 24-48 hours would change everything. But the parties are fighting over money, and the relationship is bathed in mistrust, especially from the players towards the owners. The owners want players, who already know they will lose their wages for games not played in 2020, to receive another financial cut of their prorated wages, which would total about $ 800 million. Owners say they need this reduction due to lack of income because they don’t have paying viewers.
4. So is the money stupid? Yes. Well, mainly. The people I talk to on both sides still feel for the sake of the game that a deal will be made. But nobody puts it at 100 percent. In fact, many express it in much less than that. Beyond money, the most important reason is divisions on both sides.
There are owners who would rather not play anymore, and that number will grow if, in their calculation, they have to lose even more to organize games. There are players and agents who believe that the March 26 deal, as MLB says, needed a new bargaining on wages if the games were played without paying customers, compared to the union’s position that the March 26 deal March said that players will be paid their salaries pro-rated games played, period.
Therefore, this is not just a fight between them. The internal struggles on both sides are not new. But the levels are high and the environment unique, producing a lot of internal tension on both sides. The extra soap opera layer is what is creating doubts more than anything.
5. So is there a solution? There is always a solution. Understand that many things happen below the surface that are not formal trading sessions. For example, subcommittees on both sides are in regular contact to discuss health / safety protocols and rules, such as DH, expanded playoffs, etc. And, despite the rhetoric, I still haven’t heard anyone privately say that the problems in those arenas will sink a deal.
Perhaps the momentum will come from agreements especially on how to return the game safely, as it unites owners and players against the virus.
Also, there could be moderating voices. What you usually hear publicly are the fire marks. But, for example, the Players Association has maintained a constant dialogue with its members and has forever declared that players run the union, not union staff. Therefore, the percentage of players who are willing to come up with full prorated wages will be vital. Is it 5 percent or 55 percent, for example?
Conversely, no person would receive greater historical success than Commissioner Rob Manfred if there are no major baseball leagues this year, particularly if all other sports leagues are launched within the pandemic. Perhaps union executive director Tony Clark’s job is in jeopardy more immediately depending on the resolution, another external pressure point, by the way, but Manfred’s reputation could be sealed in the next week or two. That should be a pressure point toward a deal because commissioners are always thinking about the legacy.
6. So how do you make a deal? The meaning of both sides is to find a way not to get caught for just the 2020 payment. Manfred will need to convince aggressive homeowners to move more because any financial hardships this year will get much worse if the sport doesn’t play games. significant for 18 months. Think, save $ 1 today to lose $ 5 tomorrow.
Players should, yes, try to win as much as possible this year, but the next two markets will look bleak, especially for players eligible for refereeing and free agents, no matter what. Therefore, all system guarantees that may apply for 2021 and 2022 should be removed to help players with compensation, such as higher minimum wage, no luxury tax penalties, etc.
Not gambling this year, if government and medical officials give their blessings, they would hit the reputation of the institution and individuals, in addition to damaging the earning power and perhaps the value of the franchise. Imagine not rising to the common good in the midst of a pandemic and hoping your fan base is waiting for you anyway when spring training kicks off in February 2021. It leads to the last question:
7. Will these strong external pressures motivate an agreement?
Probably. But there are real bad feelings, historical hatred, and other obstacles that make it less than safe.