The drama between the MLB owners and the MLB players has been a soap opera filled with more twists and turns and villainous characters than Days Of Our Lives.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred is certainly the top villain in this, and who knows if he survives the season finale. The when and where will be officially answered soon enough, and the players could have their chance through their union to file a grievance on grounds that Manfred did NOT meet the March 26th contractual agreement that was signed after the COVID-19 work stoppage.
Reportedly, there is a clause at the center of the dispute that is believed to read as “play as many games as possible.” That clause is subjective in nature and open to interpretation and if it leads to a grievance, it could be worth hundreds of millions to the players if not over a billion dollars because they have been asking for as many as 114 games at one point which could have pushed the season to the Thanksgiving holiday in November. Manfred has repeatedly said he wants the regular season to stop by the end of September. Both sides certainly had their own motivations and most were centered around money, money, and more money.
MLB owners did the right thing by giving players their 60 games rather than punishing them for the rejection. Hear from players who were pleased MLB took the high road in the end on this issue. Of course, by giving them the full 60, it may also blunt a grievance, to a degree.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) June 23, 2020
Besides being a soap opera, it also felt like a bad game of Texas Hold ‘Em of bluffs and calls repeatedly by both sides. Really, the only winner in this standoff was the lawyers who were racking up the hours and will continue to do so. The two sides were too thick to realize that their bravado once again was in the way of commonsense.
Based on conversations with a number of players, there is a strong expectation the MLBPA will vote yes on MLB’s proposed July 1 report date, codify the health-and-safety protocol (with some slight tweaks) and lock in a 60-game season that begins around July 24, sources tell ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 23, 2020
Players should know more information within the next twelve to twenty-four hours with the whats and hows on the whens and wheres. That is the reality show portion that follows the soap opera. Summer Training could start in a week, and Jeff Passan believes it will be a 60-game regular season followed by the postseason. He also believes there will be a July 1 reporting date. Ironically, six weeks ago it was thought to be a certainty that this new season would start on July 1st and the sides would play about 82-games. So much time wasted in arguing and the calendar just turned every 24-hours to a new day further from “more games” which was certainly the goal of the player’s union. In the end, the players will receive at least 100% full pay for every game played. We will see what happens with opt-out clauses and more.
“It’s absolute death for this industry to keep acting as it has been. Both sides,” Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer wrote on Twitter. “We’re driving the bus straight off a cliff. How is this good for anyone involved? Covid 19 already presented a lose lose lose situation and we’ve somehow found a way to make it worse. Incredible.”
There is always a chance that the MLBPA re-engages with Manfred for some changes to the plan before the schedule is set. Of course there are many moving parts including unnamed players who contracted COVID-19 and lest we forget that still looms to derail everything.
More to follow.