Today saw a major run of political support for the launch of a big league season. Several big-state governors expressed a willingness to host professional sports in their biggest cities on a timeline that would support MLB’s hopes for an early July launch.
New York governor Andrew Cuomo (via Denis Slattery of the New York Daily News), California governor Gavin Newsom (via Jon Passantino of CNN.com reports on Twitter), and Texas governor Greg Abbott (via Rebecca Hennes of the Houston Chronicle reports) each announced support for a summer return to play. Of course, in all cases the continued threat of the coronavirus will make in-person attendance impossible at the outset.
Television-only baseball isn’t optimal, but it’s certainly a worthwhile goal if it can be accomplished in a manner that accords with overriding public health needs. Opinions vary as to the merits of MLB’s proposals to date, which would rely upon frequent testing of participants and the elimination of certain activities that may carry a greater risk of transmission.
The concern remains that the benefits of staging a campaign don’t outweigh the dedication of resources and added potential for spread of the virus. Given the ongoing debate, this (seemingly somewhat coordinated) series of announcements represents a notable vote of confidence.
“I think this is in the best interest of all the people and in the best interest in the state of New York,” Cuomo said of the return of professional sports. “And then they’ll be up and running and when we can fill a stadium again, we can fill a stadium.”
The increasing likelihood of play resuming also draws more focus to ongoing economic chatter between the league and union. As Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic report (subscription link), the standoff on player pay continues as the sides wait for another to blink.
It seems the most immediate dispute is rather narrow — and, frankly, a bit hard to comprehend. Despite publicizing a 50/50 revenue sharing concept — but not ever making clear just what revenue would be shared — the league has yet to formally propose that approach to the players.
At the moment, per The Athletic, the league’s position is that “the union needs to drop its stance that the salary matter is closed before it makes a new proposal.” On the other hand, the MLBPA “does not think it should discuss sacrificing additional pay until the league demonstrates its financial distress.”
This seems either to be a symbolic battle that shouldn’t need to be held or yet another instance of the sides jockeying for technical advantage rather than just diving into the many practical issues that confront them. Either way, there’s obviously a need both for the league to come forward with information regarding “economic feasibility” of fan-free games and for the union to consider whether it is sufficient to justify modification of the pro rata reduction of pay that was already agreed upon.
If the negotiating parties had a greater degree of trust, they probably wouldn’t be grounded on this particular sandbar. There’s so much to lose for all involved that they’ll surely find a way to make progress. But every moment of financial bickering represents a mutual lost opportunity to generate goodwill through the return of the game. And the only lack of trust ramps up the potential risks, given that the league and union are only just beginning to jointly navigate the unknown waters of baseball in the era of the coronavirus.
I wish Pritzker would open up Illinois, but he would have to leave Florida to do that.
Well, this is an important step. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll get some MLB games in this season yet!!
You probably live in a rural area and think contagious diseases are a hoax, because in the backwoods of Montana, nobody lives near each other.
Then maybe it should be a county decision and not a state-wide decision.
nah I know that it’s a real thing, but Illinois problem is Chicago.
But baseball in IL is only in Chicago. The rest of the state is irrelevant.
wild bill tetley
Guy talks about Illinois and you mention Montana. Whiff. Massive miss with that comment.
thats it fort pitt
We all want baseball to open, but it’s such a logistical nightmare, there’s no way to do it safely.
Safely? Ha! There is no way to live safely. You will never be safe. You become less safe with each day social distancing continues. Until we learn to live with the virus and get past the fear there is no hope.
“We have to learn to live with the virus.”
Just like we did with Bird flu and Swine Flu and Ebola and SARS, etc.
Oh wait. That’s right, we took those seriously and took organized steps to eliminate those threats. And did.
But now, because of inaction and incompetence, we “have to learn to live with the virus.”
But now, because of the willful irresponsibility of selfish people, we “have to learn to live with the virus”.
That’s not just lowering the bar, that’s burying the bar six feet under.
About as pathetic as this revisionist history.
You sound like someone that was in elementary school or middle school when all those other viruses occurred. Things didn’t shut down when they were spreading, people continued to go about their daily lives. If shutting things down and not interacting with people is your definition of taking things seriously, the United States took all of those less seriously than they have Covid. …..
Most people are staying inside not because they want to be safe, or are afraid– most people are staying inside because they know if they get it, they can easily transmit it to their vulnerable family, friends, and neighbors. I know that’s hard for you to grasp because you’re only capable of thinking about yourself.
Safety doesn’t matter when there is money to be made (and you can unilaterally implement the wish list that you’ve been compiling for decades)
I’m surprised to communist from California wants baseball back. He wants to suppress everything else. Could just be a baseball fan
Andrew, you need a tissue?
What point are you trying to make? Your comment isn’t comical, it provides zero intellectual information, and brings nothing to the topic of conversation.
Calling someone a communist shows zero intellect
Kyle – Communism: “a system where all property is public and people work and are given things by the government according to their needs.”
That sums up California in a nutshell. That’s why I no longer live there.
Now you’re just the nutshell.
why – well thought out and intelligent response.
And stay out.
Great, another Mensa member.
wild bill tetley
whyhayzee with the awful attempt at a joke. Just make a regular comment. I promise we’ll laugh.
I’m going to assume that Andrew was inbred.
Yawn. You are a boring person.
communist? The state of California has the 7th largest economy in the WORLD…… put your MAGA hat back on, fix your self a Lysol cocktail and relax.
Holy non-sequitur Batman.
did you forget largest debt?
…and morally bankrupt.
and pays more in taxes to the Federal Government than it receives back. California Communism pays for the deep south.
I lived in a communist country. You wouldn’t know communism if it came up and kicked you in the head.
He was told to by the DNC, that’s why.
I wanted baseball back but I compromised now it will Yanks and Mets in the same division. I wanted NL baseball but I compromised and got universal DH. This has been in the talks since they dropped the AL and NL presidents 20 f’n years ago.-Phil Leotardo
Honestly, baseball will be boring this year but I guess any baseball is better than none
Crowds won’t make it more or less exciting. They can play music and add crowd noise
he probably just is sad he wolnt get to hear crowds boo the Stros.
If you think baseball is boring without a crowd, I am forced to ask why you like baseball.
Neither the players or the owners have any real incentive to play until the fans are allowed to attend. Social distancing, and not the virus, will destroy the world. When are people going to wake up? Bad things happen to good people every day. EVERY single day. So many people are afraid of an affliction that impacts about 1% of the population that they’ve lost their minds. Blinded by fear stoked by the politicians, the media and the ‘experts’. It really has been stunning to watch people literally scared to death. The virus isn’t going away. Until you learn to live with it there is no hope.
90,000 US citizens DEAD
1.5 Million infected
you are a buffoon. finish up your Lysol cocktail and go outside and kiss the first person you see wearing a MAGA cap
90,000 of 331 million lmao that’s good for a .0002 chance lol ya I rather just get back to living life
50,000 People in the USA die every day. The sky is not falling.
Bluff – The corona virus has been around for years. This is just a new strain, just like the flu has new strains every year. The bigger problem we have is that our enemies are watching our irrational show of weakness and vulnerability.
what does that mean? do you think we’re going to get war declared on us because we dont want our old people to die?
I know it’s hard for you to grasp because you’re a narcissist, but there’s a lot of people willing to social distance and stay home in order to help the vulnerable stay alive.
Social distancing, in case you can’t understand the principle, IS learning to live with it.
At what point is it safe to open the Economy?
Cuomo, Abbott and Newsom all pushing baseball is a very positive sign. Three of the four largest populated state governors, two democrats and one republican, one hard hit state and two not hard hit states all agreeing is welcome news!
Both sides’ positions are probably untenable in the long run. The owners want more, they think they left themselves wiggle room when they negotiated the original reduction. The players are angry–they thought the original concession was bargained for and liquidated out their “give” and this is another bite at the apple. Right there is a big trust issue, and that’s appropriate to the circumstances.
We fans just want baseball, even if it’s only going to be on TV, and most of us don’t particularly care who makes what. But there are issues of equity and safety here that make this different than an ordinary labor dispute, What the owners want is for the players to, in effect, pay for half of every ticket, beer and brat. That’s unrealistic. The players labor, essential for continuity for the game, has value beyond that. The owners will still own the same property next year. The players will be a year older, a year less valuable, but will have also paid in lost service time and development opportunities. And concessions on the draft will have enormous savings for the Owners down the road. And, although most of us put it aside as unlikely because we think they aren’t in the most vulnerable demographic, the possibility of illness is real, and serious illness not out of the question.
That’s the reality. If there really is going to be a settlement, I suspect the players will give more, but I just don’t see them agreeing to much more than maybe 15-20% of their already reduced pay. MLB, if they can get that, should quietly snicker and pocket the money, bonus their lawyers, and get things reopened.
“What the owners want is for the players to, in effect, pay for half of every ticket, beer and brat”.
Half of the zero teams will collect … is zero.
Maybe I should have been clearer. The owners want the players to accept half of revenue sharing in lieu of taking salary. Meaning, to your point of half of nothing is nothing, the players don’t get their salaries. I wouldn’t be happy with that.
This is about economics not health( so no hazard pay like Snell wants).,The strongest argument the players have is “A deal is a deal” which is why the players should not give up one cent more then what they agreed to, Simply put if the owners want to play, then they pay what they agreed to if not, cancel the season,
If only that were true. The actual agreement had a “no spectators” contingency, stating that teams and owners would rengotiate in good faith if games were to be played without fans (and 40% of the revenue stream),. The players’ insistence that the pro rata salary agreement has some sort of binding effect is without basis.
Your desire for the players to play for a small fraction of their pay seems to be quite strong. Would $50 per game plus gas money be too much?
When the Governors of New York and California ( hardly Trump supporters ) say it is okay to play then the health argument is weakened. The strongest argument the players have is “A deal is a deal” and the owners must live up to what they agreed to. The strongest argument the owners have is the financial bath they will take ( play or not). To me the fairest solution is they play but the owners live up to their agreement, and pay what was agreed to ( even if the players get the 100% of the profits), but the players cannot expect extra pay ( that means Ian Snell etc) not can they expect lots of money in the off-season.
I’m so ready for some baseball! Pay the prorated salaries over two years to help cashflow, done.
On any given gameday, there are a lot more fans watching on TV than at the game. We can handle TV only for now.
Illinois Governor and Chicago Mayor will not allow baseball.
Mayor Lightfoot has her Chicago Police Gang Violence Division ready to move in on Churches and sporting events if people show up. I am not kidding, it is the truth.
It is a total joke what is happening in Illinois.
If people in BLUE States want this to stop….VOTE in NEW people.
The people in Illinois are Pritzker’s Prisoners !
Lets Play some Baseball…….Football…….Basketball !
it scares me how militant they are about attacking churches for their violations of this rule. for example the church that got in trouble for the drive in service. (i forget in which state, but i mean this as a general comment about all the states) it’s one thing to tell people they cant go to concerts and sports games, it’s another to restrict religious practices among consenting adults. and im sure sports events will provoke less ire from these people because they make their states and municipalities more money than churches do.
Pretty sure Jesus would not be in favor of a bunch of self-righteous blowhards insisting on having church services so they can pass the germs around to their neighbors. You can pray anywhere and you can help others anytime. Church is not essential right now.
(Son, grandson, great grandson, brother-in-law, second cousin, et al, of preachers, all good ones)
Why would religious institutions be held to the same standard than all other large gatherings?
I don’t see how this helps anything economically, it’s just a distraction. Entertainment? Sure. Useful for our recovery? Not so much. But let’s bicker about it.
Even Ray Charles could see that this comment section was headed towards a dumpster fire of political polarization.
Funny how the Govs. backtrack when it pertains to billionaires and millionaires….
A 67 page document to address how health issues will be addressed is proof there is no safe method!
Worried about baseball but people can’t go to gyms or out and find jobs. Amazing totally mind boggling. I hope baseball doesn’t come back this year. Can’t find a job but can have 30 people in a dugout and school are closed.
I have a question for NE baseball fans, New York in particular. What will it take for you as a fan to get on a subway to attend a game in the Bronx, or Queens? Just curious here in Texas.
From CTV News Canada:12:00 pm: An agreement has been reached between Canada and the United States to keep the border closed to all non-essential travel for another month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced, calling it the “right thing” to do. He is cautioning that it could be months still before non-essential travel is allowed.
Perhaps the MLBPA could negotiate a greater salary reduction in 2020 for a greater share of non-salary revenues (ex: swag sales, etc.) in future years. Immediate cash flow relief for teams, future $$ for players. Could turn out to be advantageous.