Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred announced he is no longer 100% certain the 2020 season will occur.
BREAKING: MLB commissioner Rob Manfred tells @Espngreeny that he’s “not confident” there will be a 2020 baseball season. “Unfortunately," Manfred said, "I can’t tell you that I’m a 100% certain that’s gonna happen.”
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 15, 2020
I am at a loss for words.
The NBA has established a restart schedule. The WNBA has settled on a 22-game season. Even the NFL expects to start its season on time.
But not Major League Baseball. The owners and the players’ union have been locked in a war of attrition since the league shut down due to COVID-19. Players, holding firm to the right to their prorated pay for however many games are played. Owners, operating with a clear bottom-line number they’re unwilling to adjust.
If you’ve had difficulty following the “progress” of these negotiations over the last couple of months, here’s your recap:
Welcome to negotiating in bad faith 101, the 2020 Baseball Story pic.twitter.com/wA8q4mDsvg
— Jomboy (@Jomboy_) June 15, 2020
Any semblance of trust between owners and players that both parties are acting with the game’s best interest at heart has been irrevocably destroyed. Each side has accused the other of negotiating in bad faith.
The players’ union finally had enough. They told Manfred that good faith negotiations were clearly over. They said tell us when to show up per the power you have from the March 26 agreement.
And now, the owners have learned that the players’ union plans to file a grievance. A valid grievance at that, as the March 26 agreement calls for the most games that can be reasonably scheduled should Manfred enact this power.
Forty-eight games is not particularly close to that standard.
So once again, the owners are holding the game hostage. They’ve demanded that the players come back to the negotiating table. Maybe it’s to stall, maybe it’s to avoid a grievance that could result in the team financials being reviewed.
But it certainly isn’t to offer a reasonable deal all of a sudden.
The game is in serious trouble. The next two years carry the potential to be the most turbulent in baseball history.
It is a bad time to be a baseball fan.