MLBPA Loses One to Win One

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The fact that there will evidently be baseball this year seems……anticlimactic.

We all thought there would be a deal struck at the 11th hour. A “grand bargain” that might usher in labor peace for the next decade, or at least, a short-term deal that would ensure civility between now and the expiration of the CBA in a couple years.

Rather, what we get is the MLB imposing a season upon the Players Association. And the players will be play baseball, albeit reluctantly. They say they want to play, but they really want to play on their terms. And there’s the threat of sit-outs; some players may deem it not worth their while to put their health at risk in a short season.

The players all along wanted pro-rated salaries. They didn’t buy the owners’ claim of reduced revenues, although that’s hard to argue against if games are played without fans. Sure, the revenue from gate sales and concessions isn’t anywhere near the TV revenue and sponsorships, but it’s a respectable chunk. It only makes sense that the players should share in the financial pain.

The players seem to be the obstinate ones now. The owners have a couple things going for them with their final offer: Firstly, they conceded pro-rated salaries to the players, their major sticking point. That wasn’t enough to get deal done, though. Secondly, the owners have the word of health experts that it would be major health risk to play baseball games in the fall, as Coronavirus could surge in colder weather.

The players didn’t acknowledge that health concern in their last offer of playing 70 games, which would extend the season past the owners’ comfort level. The owners seem to be the ones concerned about player safety, not the players themselves.

What are the players thinking? Is it time for them to take a stand against perceived inequities? Are they thinking they are reasonable in their demands, but the owners aren’t being forthcoming? To me, it makes the most sense that the MLBPA wants to retain, their right to file a grievance. They can use that as leverage in upcoming CBA negotiations.

This is headed nowhere good. Sure, we may have baseball in 2020 and in 2021, but there is acrimony on both sides now. The owners undoubtedly feel they have made great concessions, but obviously the players don’t agree. If they did, they would have taken the deal.

Labor strife is fascinating to talk about but emotionally, it really detracts from our ability to enjoy the sport we love.

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