I do not care
What owners do, what players do.
I hope justice. Let no one be exploited. That transparency wins.
I think players are the engine of the game, the product that fans spend money on. Therefore, players who receive will never read in this space that they are greedy or that they don’t deserve them. Still, by covering, say, the Gerrit Cole deal if he gets $ 10 million a year, that’s fine; if he received $ 50 million a year, fine. I do not care
In the current negotiations to restart the season, defenders on both sides are trying to change my mind. And, in real time, they both sound reasonable and correct. If I must decide on a jump ball, I will do my best to find out where I am standing.
But whether advocates believe it or not, and most of the time I think not, I really don’t care how they divide money until I invade what matters to me.
The baseball. The history. The integrity. Continuity
MLB is talking about implementing a 50-game season that slanders the league’s history, integrity, and continuity. In a pandemic, maybe you take what you get. But it is not the virus that prevents owners and players from organizing a more representative season. It is money.
When all of this has been forensic in the future, I suspect we’ll find out that if the parties had cooperated, they would have been in spring training for a few weeks already and could have played a regular season ending in September and it was 100 or more games.
The first offer of 82 MLB games was going to invite asterisks. But at least it’s half a season. Being roughly in the traditional All-Star break first feels relevant, albeit incomplete. The teams reach approximately 50 games on Memorial Day, typically the first pit stop to assess the season, without determining everything from ERA titles to championships.
Perhaps the expanded playoffs would cover some shorter-season sins. But season 50 of the game with a full prorated payout would be a bit of a stretch for players. They would have to approve going from 10 to 14 postseason teams, and why would they do that favor to make money for the owners?
MLB has had five teams (10 total) in each league making the playoffs each season since 2012. Seven times in those eight seasons, a World Series participant was not in the postseason position until Memorial Day, including National champions last year and both AL winners and giant champions in 2012.
Using June 30 for an approximation of when the teams reach 82 games, five 2012-19 World Series participants were not yet in one of the 10 playoff spots. But if the playoffs were to expand to 14 clubs, all World Series teams would make the playoffs, except last year’s Nationals, who would have had to compete in a play-in since they were tied for the playoff final place, and the 2012 Tigers, which were only 38-40 through June 30.
If the playoffs held at 10 teams, the numbers increased slightly with 57 of the 80 possible teams from 2012-2019 in the postseason position through June 30, compared to 54 until Memorial Day.
But there has to be more to it than just the data here. This sport only had to penalize the 2017 Astros and the 2018 Red Sox for stealing illegal cartels, casting further doubt on the credibility of those champions. Again, 82-100 games would not be perfect. But one more half season of achievement is much meatier than a third. Baseball is a game prized for its daily serial journey. Resistance is part of joy. And I think fans would have provided a lot of the credibility needed if MLB and its players were maneuvering together to play as many games as possible during a pandemic.
Not playing when MLB could be a unifying force in times of racial strife, a monetary blessing in the midst of financial disaster (don’t forget how many subsidiary jobs in travel, hospitality, transportation, media, etc., benefit from the game) and a symbol that some form of normality will increase with all diseases and death is so stupid in the short term, blind to both sides that they are not going to get any benefit from the doubt by playing less and no more.
I really don’t care how they divide the money. But I do think there would be more than anticipated. There are avenues where some assistance returns and opportunities to make marketing deals with so little fresh entertainment content available, for example from Hollywood. There are extended playoffs. The ability to get more of the prorated dollars from regional sports networks.
But the parties are wasting time doing it in the best way, which begins the Independence Day weekend and plays no less than 82 games.
Already by fighting so publicly on this matter, MLB has damaged his reputation. Putting a season shorter than necessary will have a credibility damage that goes beyond a schedule of any duration.