Over the last week or so, things have started to shift. We’ve seen more and more things open up, the weather is becoming better and more summer-like, and proposals for the start of baseball season seem to have gone from Vizzini (inconceivable) to Thanos (inevitable). But as the purple Titan found out, inevitability has a way of being avoided.
We’ve talked somewhat about the owners’ health proposal, but nothing gets done in this world unless the money is right and right now, the players and owners seem very far apart on this topic, with a good bit of bad blood simmering as well.
In the last few days, we’ve seen an email come out that seems to indicate the players understood that there would be a discussion about salaries and possible reductions if the game went on without fans before they signed the March agreement. Honestly, my opinion has been that the terminology seems to favor that sort of interpretation, though it doesn’t force the players into anything or say that they are open to another cut, just that they would discuss it with the owners.
Understandably, though, the players were less than pleased with this making it into the public realm. You can read some about it over here at this Deadspin article, if you haven’t already. Things are getting a bit testy.
Do you remember in the non-corona world when the press releases between MLB and Minor League Baseball got very snippy, to where it was like both organizations were arguing their points in their releases? It was shady–in the “throwing shade” sense–and pretty much lacked any decorum, but given the state of politics today, it’s not surprising that other negotiations are going to follow the same route. Anyway, it’s getting to the same place with the players and owners, it feels like.
The players union memo, which was obtained here, begins thusly (and ominously) … “As MLB misinformation continues to be pushed out through the media and various club personnel, we wanted to provide some straightforward facts for player reference …” (cont for their facts)
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) May 21, 2020
Anything about that scream “we’re ready to deal” to you?
Also, it has to be noted that the players can’t respond to anything because the owners, seeing the public backlash players and others had to their leaked proposal, just didn’t bother to send it over. Though given that MLB still hasn’t responded to the players’ request for financial information that they made over two months ago, maybe that’s not a huge surprise.
Tensions seem to be pretty high and two parties that already didn’t have a lot of trust in each other aren’t finding much reason to increase that trust. While both say they want the game to return–and I imagine they do–the clock continues to tick. This feels like a very large gulf that needs to be crossed in about a week’s time.
Buckle up. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.