Everyone’s favorite holiday is in danger of being pushed back next year. According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Major League Baseball and its team owners are once again toying with a reduced schedule in 2021, pushing back opening day for the second year in a row. This stems from concerns over the coronavirus and ensuring players can receive the vaccine before the season.
According to Nightengale, the players feel differently about waiting once again.
The Major League Baseball Players Association, believing it proved a year ago that teams can safely adapt to protocols, wants the season to start on time, playing all 162 games with full pay.
“I don’t see a snowball’s chance in hell that spring training can start with protocols in place,’’ a National League owner told USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the issue. “I think there will be significant pressure for players to get the vaccine first before they go to spring training, and if that has to be moved back to April and play 130 games, so be it.”
After the ugly battle between MLB and the MLBPA over the 2020 season, another impasse could be catastrophic with the current Collective Bargaining Agreement set to expire after the 2021 season.
More Than Safety Concerns
While the virus is the headline here, a bigger underlying reason for the league wishing to wait — as it so often is with MLB — is money.
The league and owners lost billions in revenue in 2020 thanks to a shortened 60 game season played with no fans allowed at ballparks. Now, in an effort to combat further financial losses, the league feels that pushing the season back and likely implementing a shorter schedule could allow time for fans to safely return to ballgames. It would also ensure that owners wouldn’t be paying players their full salaries.
That is something the Players Association has a problem with.
Prepare yourself for another potential bloodbath between the two sides. Things are very likely to get worse before they get better this winter.