MLBPA chief Tony Clark recently discussed the pandemic-driven baseball hiatus with ESPN.com’s Marly Rivera. While specifics remain frustratingly unavailable, it’s important to understand the thinking of the top union official regarding the potential resumption of play.
We’d all love for conditions to permit the 2020 season to begin, but Clark indicates that it remains unclear precisely when and how that might occur. “I don’t know that there is a definitive plan yet,” he says.
Clark acknowledged that “it is a delicate balance” in deciding upon a route back and that “there may never be a perfect time” to move forward. But the union intends to “work alongside the league to find that right spot in time to get us back on the field,” with the hope being that “it is sooner rather than later.”
While we’ve heard chatter over disagreements regarding player salaries in the event of TV-only games, Clark frames things a bit differently — unsurprisingly, given the union’s stance. “Our position is that with respect to player salaries, we’ve had that discussion already,” says Clark. “Our focus now is on health and safety moving forward.”
While the union’s position is that the matter of paychecks is already decided, Clark also seemed to acknowledge a possible need to revisit the matter when details of the 2020 season come into clearer focus.
“We have an agreement in place that speaks to a reduction in player salaries in a season that’s less than 162 games. That agreement is in place. Any further discussion, then the league has the ability to make additional proposals against the backdrop of situations that may have been contemplated in the initial agreement but are different or may be different moving forward, and we have the ability to respond.”
That’s rather obscure — likely by design. But Clark seems to be suggesting that, even if MLB is right that player salaries can be revisited in the event of attendance-free contests, the onus is on the league to show cause for any further reductions.
There’s obviously a lot of public relations posturing in these comments (as with those of MLB officials). After emphasizing the union’s focus on health — which is both a legitimate concern and better ground to stand upon than compensation — Clark noted: “We’ll see whether or to what extent the league is focused on something different.”
Clark acknowledged ongoing conversations regarding the need to “mitigate as much risk as possible” and to address possible liabilities, but it doesn’t sound as if much has been decided. The sides haven’t discussed the next CBA in connection with the 2020 season, he added, which suggests that complicated matter won’t become directly intertwined the uncharted ground currently being navigated.
Needless to say, there are many potential stumbling blocks in the realm of labor relations. But the sides both have huge incentive to facilitate a path back to play and to avoid open conflict over profits. Ultimately, Clark says: “the lines of communication are open, and as long as they are open, there’s an opportunity to work through and try and find common ground despite our differences.”
Why is MLBTR still using a picture of Tony from 2015?
why does it matter?
Because it’s a nice pic of the MLBPA boss man.
Why is your username still referencing a band that was cool in 1999?
Blink 182 is still cool!
What if we only had a 5-week long playoff run instead of a full mlb season? That way players/baseball personnel might be more open to being “quarantined” during the season.
I don’t think a lot of the players would be on board for that, and most rebuilding teams probably wouldnt
I’ve been saying that since the beginning. do a 50 game season starting mid july for playoff seeding. cactus and grapefruit leagues. All teams make the playoffs and you go by round. you could even do something like an 11 game series.
it would create fun with all the brackets and keep travel low.
Can’t imagine we’ll have a season at all if the players don’t take a further cut on salaries in the event of games without fans. Too many teams/owners will lose more that way than just not playing at all. and will want to cut their losses.
some money is better than no money right though? Some people talk like these Players make so much money they don’t need to get paid. Realistically a lot of these guys live a lifestyle that necessitates them getting paid. Just because you buy a $10 million house doesn’t mean you paid cash for it: you’ve got a mortgage that’s 20k a month. Supporting people in your extended family… These guys need money just like the rest of us
Not necessarily. You have to know the cost of opening whatever venue is being used; if revenue generated doesn’t equal the cost of opening the venue, or the profit margin is extremely thin, you’re better off financially not playing at all.
That sounds like a personal problem the players should of thought of before buying a $10 million dollar home and a $1 million dollar car. That’s on them.
Being able to support your family, and possibly extended family is one thing.
Being able to live the lifestyle you chose to live instead of being wise with your finances is another thing.
Rule of thumb- dont get into a mortgage you cant pay with unemployment while youre between jobs.
Yeah, why didn’t some player who signed a multiyear contract plan ahead for a situation that hasn’t happened in over 100 years? That’s totally on him. He should absolutely take a bigger pay cut so the billionaire owner doesn’t have to lose money
I’ll never understand it…it’s up to the employees to sacrifice so the owner can profit?
@hOsE, you can use the same logic then for every single person who is unemployed and facing economic collapse in the whole country. “They should’ve been prepared for this.” That doesn’t fly in my opinion. All who are struggling deserve financial help from the Fed, as some are getting it now. MLB players also need to pay mortgages, put food on the table, etc. Yes, most veterans who have gone thru ARB and FA should be ok due to high salaries and contracts from years past. But younger guys on league minimums or lower AAV contract veterans deserve “some” pay to stay solvent.
Lol, how retarded are you? Who had a plan for the plague?
Most teams want to play, but at some point the majority will say forget it, and not only not play but lock the players out of spring training next year
But I’m not sure it should be on the players to ensure the viability of a shortened season. Sure, they should be cut, but the corporations that own the team, and have probably been subsidized during the pandemic to an extent, have to suck it up too.
What knowledge do you have that teams have been subsidized? They may have received PPP loans, but the forgivable (“subsidized”) portion of those loans would be limited to 2.5 months of payroll capped at $100k per year. It isn’t going to go far toward a $150-$200 mill. payroll.
Trevor Plouffe has a different take. Spring training 2 will start on June 10, and Opening Day will be July 1.
… ok, but it’s Trevor Plouffe. pretty sure that won’t happen.
Plouffe is the only one saying this.
That has been shot down on every sports newscast I’ve seen. There are no dates set yet for return.
-Insert irrelevant and unfunny comment on every single post here-
Are you pained by his comments? Is your mental capacity so limited, you felt the need to go out and create a burner account to get a jab in? Are you not mentally capable of looking beyond it?
Sir, sounds like to me, he has already won. You have a blessed day…and No Soup for You!
How ironic, considering every time cards81 brings you up you show up to comment. Sounds like you might wanna look up the definition of hypocrite.
Did I create a burner account? No. Never had one.
Did I create a burner account called Tards81IQ and act as though its him posting? No.
Sounds like you might want to look up the definitions of similar and different.
Still, you’re clearly not mentally capable of looking past it, as you so eloquently put.
Apparently so are you. Enjoy the #fail.
don’t hate hiiiim cuz you ain’t hiiim
With the NFL camps opening in July, MLB has two months to start play. Otherwise, no season.
That hedging tells you Clark now realizes that for the nth time, he was out-negotiated by the owners. Owners will try to make players pay for reduced attendance and related revenues. What’s interesting about this conceptually is that it clearly wasn’t anticipated by the Union, and leads to some interesting questions about the future. Are we going to see a secular change where revenue is tied directly to salaries, and will that be only a risk to the players, or an opportunity? If MLB does reopen, and attendance begins to recover, will adjustments be on a team by team basis? How do you take into account tanking teams? Necessary distancing in places like New York, LA and Boston? Advice to the MLBPA: Hire someone competent.
I’ve been as critical of Clark as anyone and agree the PA could throw a rock and find a better union boss (and that they should try it), but…for once…I don’t think Clark has messed up. And he’s saying the right things here.
It seems it was the owners who didn’t anticipate games with empty stands.
Whether the players ultimately get paid their full per game salaries or not remains to be seen, but thus far, Clark has properly represented their interests in this matter.
I take your point, but the agreement between MLB and the MLBPA didn’t liquidate out the reductions, so this permits MLB to take a second bite at the apple.
If nurses and Doctors are unable to get tested (due to lack of a reliable test) why does anyone think the hundreds of people needed to play a game will get tested. There is nothing in place in regards to contact tracing. This issue is the first one needing resolution not a salary. Also MLB has never opened their books so how do we know what is the state of their finances? Please remember MLB’s record on collusion! I don’t know that they are motivated by anything but money.
Test kits will have to be available large scale for the entire U.S. population first and foremost. Hopefully the money issue is being negotiated in the meantime. .
Here is the problem:,If fans come back in 2020; it will not matter in places like Baltimore and Pittsburgh. Orioles and Pirates lose to the Ravens and Steelers every time.
What if MLB goes PPV only? Everyone happy but fans and ESPN.
Or just play a month of exhibition games? No postseason.
Side question: why do fans tolerate tanking? Sports are ultimately entertainment; movies can’t tank, tv shows can’t tank, but we willingly buy tickets to support franchises that don’t care about the product on the field, but have subsidized stadia and expect broad support. It’s weird to me.
Movies and TV shows do tanks in their own way. Haven’t you see a bad one before? Once the cost is sunk in them, the owners want whatever they can get out of them. Who raves about a mediocre sports team? No one! We want winners. People pay high prices to attend games to see winners. There is a lot less difference between losing teams and mediocrity than winners and mediocrity.
But there’s a difference. A bad movie is “a” bad movie. It happens. Franchises are looking at fans and saying “we do not plan to be competitive, but spend money anyway.” I’ve never heard a producer say that the next 3 movies I’ll make will be terrible, but go anyway.
Tanking is just a concept. Teams at the point they get labeled are already mega losers and need the high draft picks anyway.
No they can’t…because they’d be union members the minute they put on the uniform. They’d have to get scabs.
Sounds like the PA won’t budge much on further salary reductions. Could get ugly.
i hate my father
if Players union wants to do long term damage sure, don’t budge on salary. There is a big incentive to work something out and they will, be forced to find a compromise. I season not happening due to salaries and revenue sharing during of a middle of a crises will not sit well with the fan base. They will get it figured out.
I think the players beat the owners on this agreement once again. So I do not think they will compromise. Why? The Collective Bargaining Agreement ends after 2021, and there is a possibility of the owners locking the players out of Spring Training, so it might make economic sense to get what you can now.
If baseball turns out to be half a normal schedule and TV revenue (55% of league revenue) is reduced by half to accomodate fewer games, we’re looking at players needing to play for about 27% of their contracted wage in order for the teams to be profitable. The players’ association may turn that down.
Which introduces another scenario. If MLPA vote no, the league could field teams of minor leaguers with all their top prospects.
No chance MLB plays its top prospects. Starts their service-time clocks running, and service-time manipulation is a primary way of maintaining player control and keeping salaries down.
Scab football failed and scab baseball will be even worse
Forget the service time because it would be a minor league season, not major league. I’d love to watch all the prospects play … and a televised league would attract a big tv audience and actually make money for team owners and the league.
That would a whopper for the courts to decide. MLB trying to put through minor league players, televised on an MLB contract, but no service time, no MLB salaries, and no MLB players involved. Bang.
This is a guaranteed fail. I remember when the NFL tried replacement players and it was a disaster. Not to mention this: If with the exceptions of teams like the Yankees, Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals and Red Sox, MLB has trouble competing against the NFL now, just imagine with replacement players?
It’s not REPLACEMENT players. it would be minor league players. Who already play a Triple-A season every year. I’d watch it if it meant the only baseball in 2020. People love college sports, it’s not much different really. The big leaguers of tomorrow on a bigger stage in 2020.
Let’s assume your 55% figure is accurate for the reduced season.
1) normal teams expenses include a lot of scouting – that’s not happening.
2) normal seasons require a lot of statism upkeep and maintenance. If games do NOT take place in all the home stadiums, thays a reduced and sunk cost – money to mothball a venue is constant whether games are played or not.
3) travel costs would arguably be negligible under a reopening plan. Thats money saved.
4) front offices and team employees have agreed to pay cuts, and presumably, remain doing so going forward.
Keep going down that list of savings.
I vaguely recall somewhere reading that player salaries were 40-something percent of league revenue across the board. Players agreed to a prorated contract based on games played.
In a reduced season, the question is, can MLB as one of the only outlets to watch sports games use that footing to get expanded single season tv broadcast revenues on national broadcasts. Local tv blackouts protect regional sports networks. Will espn pony up for 4 mlb games per day? That’s new revenue.
Right now you says tv rights only make up 55% of revenue. Player expenses eat up 45%? 47%? Whatever it is of revenue.
Can a pared down franchise break even with 10%? Of tv revenue plus other streams, and add on top new single season revenues.
There’s enough money that will come in across mlb to cover salaries. The problem is yankees/dodgers/redsox/etc games rights are worth more than pirates/marlins/orioles/etc.
How do you alter revenue sharing?
The Yankees make most of their money on the YES Network. Here is something interesting:,The last time I checked, the Yankees are paying around $75m per year on the mortgage on Yankee Stadium ( I bet the Tampa Bay Rays total payroll is not much more then that). They already share National TV revenue, merchandising and gate receipts with the Rays ( while the Rays are not helping with that mortgage payment).,Which is why they will not be sharing YES Network revenue with the Rays.
Way too many ideas being floated around concerning the 2020 season, “do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the signs?”. Until some definitive resolution is determined, I wish the Commisioner, Player reps, etc. would stay away from a microphone so reporters would quit throwing their two cents worth in. Play or don’t play, make a decision and get on with it.
Shut up and play already…..
Predicting heavy snow and a cancellation of the season….