Another day, another dry, bland tweet telling us more or less that these baseball people really do not like each other. On Thursday, the players reiterated to MLB and its club owners that they will not take any further pay cuts. The union will stand on the ground that they should be paid for services rendered.
That service is entertainment for fans, whether in the seats or on TV.
But, fans will not be in the seats and that costs teams a whole lot of money in 2020.
Each of the last few weeks has been dubbed “the most important week of the year” for baseball. That expression was soon followed by the hope that someone would be the adult in the room for one of the sides.
Major League Baseball Players Association Executive Director Tony Clark today released the following statement: pic.twitter.com/jEdgARWhQy
— MLBPA Communications (@MLBPA_News) June 5, 2020
The money quote — literally and figuratively — came in that second to last paragraph…
The league’s demand for additional concessions was resoundingly rejected.
My immediate reaction:
— Clint Pasillas (FRG) (@realFRG) June 5, 2020
It turns out, there is no adult, only Zuul. And yes, that is union head Tony Clark all but calling fans to arms against MLB, whimpering a “well, he started it” attitude. Not to say that players should forfeit the rights that predecessors fought for, but the fact that the fans getting pulled into this is reaching embarrassing levels.
For the fire and brimstone types, this is starting to feel ominous — there may, in fact, be no baseball in 2020. And it will be over money, which makes it really hard to swallow.
A pandemic shut the game down, but these uncomfortably public discussions show that it was already well on its way. The game’s leadership showing more of its many flaws as the current collective bargaining agreement divided the two sides.
Now the hope for baseball this year rests on whether or not commissioner Rob Manfred drafts and enacts a new season schedule… and whether the players would agree to play.
Could it happen? Sure. Will it happen? Not terribly like. Manfred has the power to make such a decision but insiders feel he values the input of the players too much. He won’t rule with an iron fist, as it were. But each day that MLB argues with MLB players in the public eye, more harm is being inflicted on the great game. Harm it may not ever be able to fully overcome.