2020 has been nothing short of a disaster. Globally, there has been a pandemic and social unrest. Unemployment is hitting record-highs, economies have tanked and here we have Major League Baseball owners and players – billionaires and millionaires – squabbling over money.
Usually, what helps us heal through these things is sports but it’s now looking more and more like we won’t have the 2020 Major League Baseball season this year.
Players, Owners Can’t Get On The Same Page
Do you want the Coles notes or the full story? The full story is quite frustrating, so here’s the Coles notes: the players and owners can’t get on the same page, and that means we’re not getting any baseball until they do.
Even NJ sports betting sites are unsure of what they should do.
The longer version is that the owners and players have been in discussions since late winter/early spring, trying to figure out how they’ll make it back in action when the COVID-19 pandemic recedes and lockdowns are lifted.
There appeared to be an agreement in March but that was contingent on fans being allowed into ballparks. At the time, owners and players agreed that players would get their full prorated salaries based on how many games were to be played. However, with fans out of the picture and owners expecting less revenue, they believe that deal to be void.
In the last month, we’ve not only seen UFC, NASCAR, golf and major soccer return to action, we’ve also received concrete plans from the NBA and NHL as how they plan to finish out their seasons starting at the end of July.
The lone outlier has been Major League Baseball, which can’t seem to get everyone on the same page.
Commissioner Manfred ‘Guaranteed’ Baseball
One of the aspects of this situation that’s exacerbated this problem is that a lot of the negotiations are being leaked to the media. That means we’re constantly hearing reports that the owners want fewer games and want to pay players less, and players want a longer season and want a bigger cut of the pie.
Making matters even worse is Commissioner Rob Manfred, who went on ESPN recently for an interviewed and ‘100% guaranteed’ that there would be a baseball season. Just days later, he can no longer offer that guarantee as the two sides are so far apart. It’s gotten to the point where players and owners have actually broken off negotiations.
What’s bizarre is that the commissioner can implement a season and that’s what the players expected as of Saturday – to restart the season with a 48-54 game schedule – but we’ve taken a step back from that. Maybe the league will see all of the horrible press they’re getting at this point, which might be the impetus to get a deal done.
COVID-19 Now A Factor
As if the MLB didn’t have enough on its plate already, it was reported on Monday that several players and staff have tested positive for COVID-19. This has thrown another curveball for the league as safety has to be the No. 1 concern.
While many of the players are in good/great shape, they will have to worry about staff like Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker, who just turned 71. They’ll also have to keep the umpires into consideration – half of whom are 55 or older.
At this point, players are starting to wonder if it’s even worth it. If they’re not going to get their prorated salary and are forced to risk their health (both general injuries and COVID-19) for a shortened season, it might be better to sit this one out and start fresh in 2021.
Start of 2021 Season A Factor
The last piece of this puzzle should not be as big of a factor for Major League Baseball as it is for the NBA or NHL, but with calendars being pushed back, the start date of the 2021 Major League Baseball season has to be kept in consideration.
Of course, they’ll have ample time to figure that out but the later the 2020 season goes, the further things get pushed back – including offseason rehab, vacations, winter meetings, and more.
As of now, pretty much all of the baseball proposals have a shortened season but an extended postseason. If those playoffs go extra-long – maybe into November – the league is going to have to a shorter offseason before the 2021 campaign and that’s something else that the players are worried about.