The negotiations between the MLB owners and players have been beyond ugly. Both sides are angry and their dwindling fan base is feeling it.
Last week MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred unequivocally told players and fans that there would ‘100%’ be a 2020 season. Less than a week later, on national television, Manfred threw a changeup.
“I’m not confident. I think there’s real risk; and as long as there’s no dialogue, that real risk is going to continue,” Manfred said Monday on ESPN. “The owners are 100 percent committed to getting baseball back on the field. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you that I’m 100 percent certain that’s going to happen.”
MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark said in a statement that players were “disgusted” over Manfred’s comments to ESPN on Monday night.
“Players are disgusted that after Rob Manfred unequivocally told Players and fans that there would ‘100%’ be a 2020 season, he has decided to go back on his word and is now threatening to cancel the entire season,” Clark said. “Any implication that the Players Association has somehow delayed progress on health and safety protocols is completely false, as Rob has recently acknowledged the parties are ‘very, very close.’ This latest threat is just one more indication that Major League Baseball has been negotiating in bad faith since the beginning. This has always been about extracting additional pay cuts from Players and this is just another day and another bad faith tactic in their ongoing campaign.”
That statement released by Clark on behalf of the players was not the only stone thrown Manfred’s way. Ranging from the games biggest stars to back up catchers, players took to Twitter to voice their displeasure.
Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Trevor Bauer ripped the commissioner in a long twitter thread. Bauer details the times Manfred has went back on his word, wavered from his convictions, and blamed the players for it. Bauer goes as far to layout a scenario where a season does happen, game totals and days off included.
So, Rob, explain to us how you can be 100% sure that there’s going to be baseball but not confident there will be baseball at the same time? hmmm. What changed between those statements 🤔🤔 Players told you to set the season, but it’s too early to set the season right now,
— Trevor Bauer (@BauerOutage) June 15, 2020
While the most extensive, Bauer was not the only one to chime in.
Mike Trout, Gerrit Cole, Bryce Harper, tweeted the same 5 words “Tell us when and where.” Francisco Lindor tweeted out a passionate plea to get the season started. The stars want to play, and the owners should listen.
I think the tactic of the star players using social media to get the fans behind them will force owners to give in on negotiations. Just look at when Patrick Mahomes, the face of the NFL, joined the Black Lives Matter video. It got commissioner Rodger Goodell to react and give into the players request.
Mike Trout’s simple 5 word tweet can and should have that same effect on the Rob Manfred. Manfred should get on a call with all the owners and tell them its time to seriously negotiate and get the players back on the field.
The tides are turning. For the first time fans and media are beginning to side with the players, something that rarely happens during these type of negotiations.
Reports have also come out that 6-8 owners do not want there to be a season played because of the loss of revenue due to Covid-19. They do not want to pay the players and everyone involved because it will hurt their pockets for a single season.
Forget about one year of losing money, imagine the unrepairable damage that will happen without a season played. Things won’t get better with the CBA agreement up in 2021. If the owners don’t act correctly, the potential outcome can be deadly for the already dying sport.