After Major League Baseball and the MLBPA couldn’t agree to a season length during their long-running, contentious negotiations, MLB decided to impose a 60-game schedule last week. In an ideal world for the players, they’d have gotten at least 80-some games (they proposed 89 on June 9), but commissioner Rob Manfred told Dan Patrick of Fox Sports Radio on Wednesday that the league never intended to play more than 60 games this season as a result of the “unpredictable” and “unmanageable” coronavirus pandemic, per Bradford William Davis of the New York Daily News.
“The reality is we weren’t going to play more than 60 games no matter how the negotiations with the players went,” said Manfred.
Manfred’s revelation surely won’t go over well with the Tony Clark-led union, which accused the league of negotiating in bad faith throughout the sides’ stalemate (MLB did the same to the MLBPA during the process). The union could file a grievance in response to Manfred’s comments, as its March agreement with the league said MLB would have to make a real effort to play as many games as possible this year. It’s unclear whether that will happen. Regardless, the commissioner’s statement could also further rile up the union enough for the two parties to have more difficulty coming to a deal on a new collective bargaining agreement when the current pact expires after the 2021 season.
Manfred went on to admit to Patrick that negotiations on a 2020 season produced “a sub-optimal result” (via R.J. Anderson of CBS Sports). And interestingly, Manfred added that “fans won’t get an expanded postseason.” Last week, Clark seemed willing to discuss a playoff pool consisting of more than 10 teams, but it appears Manfred has closed the book on that possibility.