Baseball Players League Gap Still Exist
As Major League Baseball teams headed to spring training in February, it was business as usual getting prepared for the season. However, as covid-19 began to spread across the United States, spring training was cancelled on March 12. Clearly there was no timetable for return as the nation and whole world changed trying to deal with the pandemic.
Gradually things have improved, and professional sports has started to resume. In golf, a full field of professionals teed it up on June 11 without spectators. Soccer across the world is returning, the NBA has a plan in place to resume at the end of July and the NFL appears good to go as well. But what about baseball? Numerous proposals have been put on the board to save the season, yet here we sit, having already lost 2 ½ months of the season without a deal in place.
As is generally the case in big business, and there’s no denying Major League Baseball is as big as it gets, finances are the bottom line. The latest proposal by the league to the players bridges the financial gap but still doesn’t meet the players union’s wishes for exhaustive prorated salaries.
The latest offer from the league is for a 72-game season, just under half of the normal 162-game trek. Rosters would increase to 30 for the first two weeks, then go down to 28 for two weeks and 26 for the remainder of the season. The players would be at 80 percent of the maximum prorated salaries, while the playoffs would be extended to 16 teams with players on such teams reaching 83 percent of the prorated salaries.
Tuesday’s union’s offer for an 89-game season with full prorated salaries was quickly shutdown by the league, prompting the latest proposal. With neither side willing to give much more than an inch, commissioner Rob Manfred may need to step in. If that happens, a schedule in the neighborhood of one-third of a regular season could be implemented.
Holding firm to a season ending September 27 with less than fully prorated salaries, the players are just as firm, as if in cement, with their full prorated pay. Clearly the pay issue is the biggest gap, appearing to be as wide as the distance from New York across the Atlantic Ocean to the UK.
The tentative starting date to resume spring training had been June 22, with a few weeks needed to prep for the season. Every moment that passes clearly shortens the season. Despite this fact, Manfred insists there will be season, placing the probability at 100 percent.
One of two things will happen, either a deal is reached or there will be a very short season. Players have already voiced their adamant opposition to the league’s failure to change their offers.
With the collective bargaining agreement ending next year, even if there is a deal, problems could extend long term. For the moment, everyone wants to see baseball. How much still remains to be seen as the clock ticks. Stay tuned!