As MLB’s 30 owners and the Players Association clash over the length of a potential 2020 season — the MLBPA recently proposed a 114-game length, while ownership recently suggested as few as 50 to 60 games — Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick offered some strong objection to the notion of pushing the regular-season schedule into November. Appearing on the Burns & Gambo Show on 98.7 FM Arizona Sports, Kendrick rebuked the notion of November play (hat tip to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, on Twitter):
We don’t want to take the risk of putting our players at jeopardy and our game in peril to be playing games beyond the end of October. So our model is and will never be changed that we will not be playing baseball in the month of November or later.
It’s never been likely that the league would accept the union’s 114-game proposal, but Kendrick’s strong words are of particular note given that the union’s plan called for the regular season to conclude on Halloween. Kendrick ostensibly strives to put the well-being of players at the forefront of the issue. However, it’s been reported for weeks that the league has concerns that additional spikes in COVID-19 cases could jeopardize the postseason, where they’d stand to make considerable revenue from national television broadcasts (particularly with an expanded playoff field).
Meanwhile, Cubs owner Tom Ricketts again bemoaned a lack of revenue to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, claiming that most owners don’t profit much from their teams:
[Owners] raise all the revenue they can from tickets and media rights, and they take out their expenses, and they give all the money left to their GM to spend. The league itself does not make a lot of cash. I think there is a perception that we hoard cash and we take money out and it’s all sitting in a pile we’ve collected over the years. Well, it isn’t.
Ricketts contends that the Cubs derive 70 percent of their revenue from gamedays (ticket sales, concessions, parking, etc.) and that his team is hoping to salvage 20 percent of its would-be revenue in 2020. Of course, that’s the very type claim that has caused the MLBPA to bristle not only throughout negotiations to resume play but for decades prior. The union has repeatedly requested that ownership provide transparent documentation of the potential losses they’re claiming in 2020, but owners don’t appear likely to ever acquiesce on that issue.
Asked about agent Scott Boras recently using Ricketts and the Cubs as an example of suspect claims regarding their revenue, Ricketts merely replied that Boras “doesn’t have any insight into our balance sheet.” He also called the losses facing owners throughout the league “biblical” and spoke at length on his belief that revenue sharing between MLB and the MLBPA is a worthwhile concept to explore in the next CBA. The notion of revenue-sharing has been a total nonstarter for the union.