MLB commissioner Rob Manfred came under fire yesterday after saying in an interview on the Dan Patrick Show that a season longer than 60 games was never feasible. “The reality is we weren’t going to play more than 60 games no matter how the negotiations with the players went, or any other factor,” Manfred told Patrick.
The negative response to those comments was substantial, considering the March agreement between the league and players association expressly stipulated that two parties would make their “best efforts to play as many games as possible.” On Thursday, Manfred spoke to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale in an effort to clarify the point he claims to have been making:
My point was that no matter what happened with the union, the way things unfolded with the second spike, we would have ended up with only time for 60 games, anyway. As time went on, it became clearer and clearer that the course of the virus was going to dictate how many games we could play. … If we had started an 82-game season [beginning July 1], we would have had people in Arizona and Florida the time the second spike hit.
Major League Baseball’s initial proposal to the MLB Players Association was indeed for 82 games with an early-July start date, although that proposal came with additional pay cuts beyond the prorated salaries. The union steadfastly rejected further cuts. Their contention was that the March agreement clearly stated prorated salaries would be in place regardless of whether fans attended games, though neither executive director Tony Clark nor anyone else in the MLBPA could ever seem to explain why they then also allowed the inclusion of a clause indicating the two parties would “discuss in good faith the economic feasibility of playing games in the absence of spectators or at appropriate substitute neutral sites.”
Ultimately, MLB and the MLBPA failed to reach an agreement on the length of a season, which led Manfred to impose a season length with prorated salaries. MLB settled on a 60-game schedule — likely in an effort to avoid a grievance by implementing a season longer than ownership’s reportedly preferred 48 to 54 games.
In the days since that season length has been implemented, there’s been widespread speculation that the MLBPA nonetheless plans to file a grievance against the league — challenging the notion that MLB made its “best efforts to play as many games as possible.” Manfred’s Wednesday comments to Patrick were viewed by many as ammunition for said grievance, so it’s hardly a surprise to see him quickly endeavor to contextualize his words and distance himself from the surface-level sentiment.
That said, what Manfred cannot — or at least so far has not — explain is why the league took so long to get a proposal to the union in the first place. The March agreement was ratified on March 26, and there was already considerable discussion about playing games without spectators at that point. The first report that the league would seek additional pay cuts from players emerged way back on April 16, and yet the league didn’t actually put forth a proposal including those cuts until May 26. Even the league’s initial plan — a 50-50 revenue share that was leaked prior to its official proposal and publicly rejected by the union — wasn’t finalized by owners until May 11.
There’s been vocal criticism of both the union and the league throughout these unsightly and unyielding negotiations. One particularly popular (and still speculative) theory has been that the league deliberately prolonged negotiations to the point where the number of games sought by the union simply couldn’t fit into the schedule. The MLBPA’s initial proposal was for a 119-game season. Subsequent counter-offers featured seasons of 89 games and 70 games, all with prorated salaries. The league never gave consideration to any of those — just as the union gave zero consideration to any MLB proposals seeking pay reductions beyond prorated salaries.
The authenticity behind Manfred’s explanation and the motives of both the league and the MLBPA throughout this contentious process can be (and have been) debated ad nauseam. The end result is a 60-game season and a rebooted “Summer Camp” that will see players begin to report tomorrow — at a time when COVID-19 cases are again on the rise throughout much of the country. Given that context, perhaps the most telling quote from Manfred is not his comment on the length of season but rather another statement he provided to Nightengale:
“The reality is that we’re going to be lucky if we [get] 60 games now given the course of the virus.”
Somebody’s feeling some heat, and not because it’s July! Owners had a collective “Oh ‘darn'” moment when they realize Manfred handed Exhibit A to the MLBPA. You can’t really walk back Exhibit A.
Wait till the fans call out exhibit A on the players that said they hate the cheating going on yet Altuve, Bregman are still playing instead of being banned for life and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. It means the players are in cahoots and baseball is fixed. The players like the owners are just complete scum
Baseball is fixed because manfred is afraid of the union and sucks at his job. Lmfao wow
Bust the union
Why would any player be banned for life for an infraction that had no declared penalty?
Why would Altuve be banned?
Fixing games, look up the 1919 Black Sox scandal oldoak33. Pete Rose was banned as well. Baseball rules state you can’t use technology to gain an advantage. I would say using cameras is fixing the game. I love how me getting angry with both sides with the way they disrespect fans equals me being anti union.
Rule 21 was created in 1927, so no excuse for Mr Rose. As for the BlackSox, well, whatever. A 100 year old precedent set and here we are today. No betting on baseball.
Since there is no way to determine accurately exactly who was involved with the Astros scandal, how are you to enact such a harsh penalty when the data and eyewitness accounts suggest that Altuve did not participate?
Additionally, sign stealing is not “fixing” a game. It could even be argued that the Astros scheme had a net neutral effect. Between the ambiguity in the actual rule, and the fact that Astros every day players were not overly benefitting from the scheme, I refuse to categorize this as “fixing” the game. The “intent” was there to affect the game, without a doubt.
dubz – exactly what state or federal law was broken that Altuve, et al, could be prosecuted for?
Calm Down Karen @Johnnydubz
Except that he’s right. EFF THE UNION.
Reality is there still might not be a season. Wait and see what happens if a State shuts down group play at a stadium. This whole charade is about finding a way to get past the summer and have October “championship” baseball for the TV money. Play if it happens has to end before elections.
Yep! Exhibit A. So Manfred knew a second wave was coming and that’s why they drew the hard line in breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing? Yeah, good luck with that.
Worst commissioner in all of sports…maybe of all time.
Can we have Selig back? Or hire NBAs commissioner. He has done a great job
I hated Selig. He was a snake. Manfred is an idiot. Adam Silver is a very good commish though. IMO he’s the best current commish.
Zelig was terrible
No way he’s worse than Bettman.
Bettman guided the NHL from being an irrelevant garage league on something called Sportschannel in select markets with $400 million a year in revenues to a somewhat relevant sport that can be seen nationwide with $5 billion in revenue while bringing hockey from the dead puck era to a vastly improved product today.
What’s your beef?
Were you one of the 18 Atlanta Thrashers’ fans or something?
Anyone could have guided the NHL to where they are today with the state of television and media. Bettman stinks.
Former Thrashers season ticket holder here. Bettman, Stern, Don Waddell, AOL Time Warner, and the Atlanta Spirit can all eff-off as far as I’m concerned. But yeah- Manfred and Selig are good either.
It’s hard to believe but Bettman is the second best comish when it comes to the big four, and it isn’t even really close.
I think it’s silver, tie between Manfred and Bettman, then Roger
JD. The modern game has suffered in all sports due to no defense in basketball or football. The stupid overtime rules of football and hockey are for gamblers. Money lines have made ties too important not to have. Playoff hockey without fighting and no shootouts is the best. Sports in general have become video games instead of vice versa. The longer it goes and the less I’m missing it. Should be interesting to see how many watch after the first week.
Could that be because baseball has the worst ownership in all of sports?
Guy makes 50 million a year. He must be good at somwthing
I feel like we deserve a commissioner who doesn’t have to go into damage control after every time he opens his mouth
The same is true for the President of the United States.
Or….”I screwed up and now have to try to cover my arse.”
Manfred was the good guy, long-term baseball official that got handed a job he was not capable of doing and this is now where we are at as soon as things got tough for him
The new commisioner will be available November 3, and will make baseball great again.
Bite your typing finger Bob.
Manfred puts both feet in his mouth and now he tries to tap-dance around his comments?
Good luck with that!
Players are greedy, players association is greedy.
But the billionaires claiming they are poor aren’t?
I don’t believe anyone is greedy in this situation. Each side is looking out for their own best interests. You do the same with your job. Baseball is a business, not a non-profit. The players are employees, not volunteers.
Yes, only the players are greedy. Definitely not the owners who say give us millions in public money or we’ll move the team out of town.
Nope, just the players.
Manfred is a labor lawyer and he keeps putting his foot in his mouth with all of these comments. I wonder how good the owners feel about extending his contract right now?
MLB needs a “true” Commissioner. The current position is just the head of the Owners, just like Clark is the head of the players. It would be best to have someone that both sides have to listen to.
They had true commissioners years ago, first in Bowie Kuhn and then in Fay Vincent and they swore never again…
So much for good faith bargaining, eh Rob ?
Personally I have no problem with Rob Manfred, at least with regards to this dispute. Whoever holds the position is largely irrelevant in matters like this.
Manfred is a much better lawyer than leader.
We should understand that leadership is not in his job description. Doing the bidding of ownership is his entire job description.
Manfred caught in yesterday’s lie. What a surprise.
Actually it sounds like Manfred got caught telling the truth yesterday.
He is a liar and loser. Fire him now.
He spent years ‘learning’ under Selig.
51k new cases with Florida at 6500 and Arizona at 4800 yesterday. We are not going to have a baseball season.
Nearly all the states with MLB teams are not allowing gatherings large enough to allow for games to be played.
In at least 8 states that have MLB teams, if you are in contact with a person who tests positive you are required to self-quarantine for 14 days. Just one guy in a clubhouse that tests positive and the entire team including training staff and coaches will have to be quarantined.
Let’s stop trying to kid ourselves that there will be baseball.
wild bill tetley
You said it was NOT because of protests in an above comment? Because both Florida and Arizona had protests. Lots of them. Baseball or no baseball in 2020, let’s not kid ourselves here and pretend you have any real facts to bring to the table.
and before the protests against police brutality there were protests by far right(very wrong)/clans/teadumies against mask requirements and lock-downs.
it seems about right that large explosion of infections are coming from that group!
Lmfao. 1% of protestors have tested positive for covid
How about the fact that both those states you mentioned had governors denying covid even exists STILL within the last month… to pander to their party. Yeah let’s look where the blame belongs
Here in LA area there will be no games. Not now. Not July 24th. We can’t a gathering have near the 100 plus people it takes to hold a major league game.
5 teams in California that won’t be able to play here. With the 14 day quarantine in effect in NY, NJ and Connecticut through August 1st, that means the Mets and Yankees can’t play at home until at least then.
That doesn’t even take into consideration the mandatory quarantines for those in contact with people that tested positive.
With COVID-19 spiking in most states that have MLB teams I think you are right that we won’t have baseball this season.
I wish you weren’t right, but I am afraid you are.
Interesting. Using your alt accounts to “agree” with yourself. Why do you even bother?
What a horse’s rear end. I’ve been posting on these boards for ten years at least.
@BlueSkies_LA my comment was in response to Koamalu, not you. Hence it being indented under his.
It wasn’t indented under his comment, it directly followed mine in the thread. You can’t count on this posting system to thread the comments properly so you need to be clear about to whom you are responding.
These comment sections are hilarious. Bunch of minimum wage nobodies criticizing every little perceived misstep made by someone who has done enough right to become commissioner of Major League Baseball.
Log out and read a book.
The new CBA battle needs to include getting rid of this stooge Manfred and have a neutral Commissioner that has the best interests of Baseball…a mediator between Owners and Players and not an Owner Puppet smh
I think Manfred is a terrible commissioner. He constantly says really stupid things and/or is correcting, mitigating or reversing things he said. The owners should dump this guy.
The owners love the guy. That’s why he keeps his job. They love him even more for taking the heat from fans who don’t understand who employs him.
Not to reargue this point, but Manfred was probably telling the truth. The owners never would have been willing to pay for more than 60 games. It explains their first three bids, which, while differently structured, effectively committed to pay for roughly 48, give or take a couple, and their agreement in March, in which they left themselves room to renegotiate by not letting on there would never be a “good faith effort” to do a half season. The real money is in the playoffs. The owners got what they wanted…a handful of players will sit and get paid, the rest who decide to sit, won’t get paid or accrue service time, and a lot of younger players who would have been held down in the minor leagues for service time for part of the season probably will never see the light of day in 2020.
Unfortunately for Manfred he opened his mouth and admitted that the owners never negotiated in good faith. The MLBPA will remember that when it comes time for the next CBA.
What would the point of even making proposals in April have been? The entire country was shut down and no one knew when it would start opening
As if we needed more proof Manfred is an idiot.
“If we had started an 82-game season [beginning July 1], we would have had people in Arizona and Florida the time the second spike hit.”
Except nobody knew that when doing the negotiations weeks ago.
Oh the Pain
He doubles down by saying MLB will be lucky to complete a 60-game season. While this may be true, why keep accentuating the negative? Players are putting in the work to get the season started. Why tell them — and us — that it’s all a waste of time. Manfred has picked an odd time to start telling the truth. It seems as if he’s determined to tick the players off. TV advertisers, too. If I was buying time during telecasts, I’d be furious with Manfred for making statements that might discourage viewership.
Manfred should really stop doing interviews. He always ends up with his foot in his mouth
His job is to be the mouthpiece and fall guy for the team owners.
And just look at how well that works. Most fans it seems don’t seem to get that if Manfred is a dufous it’s because the people who hired him want it that way.
Manfred finds it very difficult to
Talk with his own foot in his mouth. Plus—- After each interview he conducts, he has even more trouble walking with each owners foot up his El Booty.
Pants on fire!
I don’t think it’s that hard to interpret what the point of the “good faith” clause was meant to address regarding economic feasibility, especially after seeing more than just excerpts.
It was likely meant to be about alternative revenue, television and advertising specifically.
Without spectators in attendance, the players wouldn’t get paid for postseason games. So, it makes perfect sense that they would want to get paid, somehow, for playing postseason games without fans. Normally they would get a percentage of the gate (nothing from TV/media coverage).
It really doesn’t matter now, though. Manfred shot himself in the foot and the grievance, along with bickering, will probably continue into the next CBA negotiations.
The real losers in all of this are the fans, prospects, amateurs trying to achieve their dreams, and the people providing support/services that have little or no work.
Hold on, let me fix the title, Manfred Attempts To Stop Being A Coward.