Rob Manfred is Running Major League Baseball Into The Ground and All We Can Do is Watch It Happen…
Major League Baseball in 2020 continues to look more like a long shot. The latest bad news in this saga, comes straight from commissioner Rob Manfred. Manfred mentioned to ESPN on Monday afternoon, he is “not confident” there will be a 2020 season.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred acknowledges to Mike Greenberg that the optics of billionaires fighting millionaires over money in the midst of COVID & racial unrest are:— Dave Briggs (@davebriggstv) June 15, 2020
“JUST A DISASTER FOR OUR GAME.”pic.twitter.com/wpLHPnvG3s
“It is a disaster for our game, absolutely no question about it. It shouldn’t be happening, and it’s important that we find a way to get past it and get the game back on the field for the benefit of our fans.”Rob Manfred, MLB Commissioner
Manfred cited a lack of dialogue with the MLB Players Association. These comments came after he just said last week: “unequivocally, we are going to play Major League Baseball this year.” Manfred put the likelihood of a season happening at “100%”.
That big of a swing in less than a week showcases the lack of leadership at the top of America’s Pastime.
COMING TO A HEAD
This has all come to a head, over the weekend, when the Players Association rejected MLB’s latest return-to-play proposal. The proposal called for a 72-game season with players guaranteed 70% of their prorated salaries. They would earn a maximum of 83%, if the playoffs occur. This completely ignores the agreement both parties made back in March.
Manfred believes the MLB proposal is being done in “good-faith”. But it’s easy to cut through the veil of lies. MLBPA lead negotiator Bruce Meyer replied: “Given your continued insistence on hundreds of millions of dollars of additional pay reductions, we assume these negotiations are at an end.”
It doesn’t sound like the MLB proposals were done in good-faith…The agreement back in March noted players were to make their full salary based on how many games were played.
MLBPA executive director Tony Clark even went as far to say: “It unfortunately appears that further dialogue with the league would be futile. It’s time to get back to work. Tell us when and where.”
Major League Baseball Players Association Executive Director Tony Clark today released the following statement: pic.twitter.com/ibyOqB93WC— MLBPA Communications (@MLBPA_News) June 15, 2020
Yet the league has become even more fraught with disillusion. Manfred apparently sent a letter to teams and players stating they would have to waive any legal claims if they want the season to begin. This comes after Manfred believed the union would file a grievance, stating the league had not upheld their end of the March 26th agreement.
That smells like blackmail.
Source: In a letter today, MLB told the MLBPA there would be no 2020 season unless the players waived any legal claims against the league.— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) June 15, 2020
With players wanting to play, Manfred has stated the owners want to have baseball too. Billionaires need to make a living somehow!
But the biggest issue surrounding the league is the owner’s greed and lack of perspective. The players have stated time and again that their number one issue, is pay. With each proposal MLB has submitted, they have failed to recognize the initial agreement for prorated salaries.
Even if owners are claiming they will lose upwards of $640,000 per game with no fans, that is a drop in the bucket for most clubs. So why hasn’t the league figured it out? You tell me.
While it appears negotiations have come to an end, Manfred still has the ability to schedule a season. Per the March agreement, Manfred has the power to make the season happen. Although it will likely be in the range of 42-60 games. That number is not ideal, but it is still something.
It remains to be seen if a majority of players will come back for the 2020 season without the guarantee of their full per game salaries. They may instead opt to sit out and face potential punishment. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that.
Manfred works for the owners. That is a commissioner’s job. It makes sense that he would heed the wants of the billionaires instead of the players. But for the league to botch these negotiations at every turn highlights the lack of owner’s understanding of their employees. Which is never something an organization should have to encounter.
Jack Kewitsch | Minnesota Sports Fan