We’ll get back to the Ozzie Smith cards probably tomorrow, but when you actually have a little good news to talk about, you don’t want to waste it. Yesterday afternoon, the Tweets started coming from the baseball insiders. Commissioner Rob Manfred, perhaps smarting from the beatdown he was taking after flipping on his 100% pledge, and Tony Clark had had face-to-face meetings, hopefully from more than six feet away and appropriately masked. From there it snowballed into the owners were sending over a proposal and that things were looking up. According to Ken Rosenthal, here’s the deal:
Source: MLB proposal includes:
•60 games in 70 days
•Season starting July 19th/20th
•Full Prorated Salary
•Expanded Playoffs in 2020 and 2021
•Waiving of any potential grievance
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 17, 2020
On the one hand, that’s just basically six more games than the owners had been wanting anyway, with one of their offers a full pro-rata for 54 games and all the other amounts being about that much in salary. Adding an extra week isn’t a huge thing in a vacuum.
They don’t play baseball in a vacuum, mainly because it would really suck to try to hit there. They don’t negotiate there either and this is the first time the owners have actually made a step toward the players. It’s a full prorated salary for more games than originally expected. Given that many of us were starting to look toward 2021, it’s pretty meaningful to see this sort of step.
And, honestly, with Dr. Fauci coming out and basically saying “you know, playing deep into October isn’t great, Bob” and with half of June already behind us, there doesn’t feel like there are many other games that could be played. The players are open to doubleheaders (which doesn’t look like will be necessary on this schedule, at least not without weather concerns) so they might come back with 65-70 games, but honestly, this may be the best possible option.
The grievance was the big thing, of course. The threat that the owners could legitimately lose a billion dollars on top of all their other expenses if an arbitrator sided with the players probably was enough to push any hardliners toward accommodation. And there was no doubt that such a grievance was coming and was looking like a legitimate loss for the owners. A billion dollars will do that to a person, so I hear.
Anyway, the expanded playoffs (according to Bob Nightengale) would wind up having more than half the teams in the league in October, with 16 teams going to play for the chance at the World Series. I’d guess that’s the top two teams in each division plus two wild cards? I’m not sure how the playoff schedule would look and I wonder if the first round would be just best of three. Normally, I’m very anti-expansion of playoffs and I do think it’ll be a mess for 2021, assuming that year is a full year. For 2020, though? I can deal with it. We’re not getting nearly as much baseball as we should, so there are more games, and it’s more likely the team that should win the World Series will be in the playoffs. (Doesn’t mean that they will win it, just it would be terrible for a good Atlanta team, for instance, to miss out by a game because of the fluky schedule.)
This feels like a solid enough step that we can start believing there will be baseball again. (I honestly was starting to think my August 2 birthday would be baseball-less for two years in a row, which would just be insane.) We’ve not seen Jack Flaherty‘s gif game yet on this proposal as I write this (which might be a good thing–Jack’s wasted no time dragging the bad offers of the last few weeks) but overall, I think we’ve got progress and, more importantly, I think we’ll have baseball.
Well, let’s rephrase that. If it is humanly possible, we’ll have baseball. The coronavirus may have different ideas. We’ve seen upticks and surges in a lot of places, some of which will soon have baseball teams at them. We’ll see if COVID will let us finally get out of the DNP cycle we are in!