MLB-MLBPA punt it away!

After many ugly months of negotiating the MLB-MLBPA have punted—no one scored! Pardon the juxtaposition but that’s what it feels like to most fans.
….Official talks began back on May 12. The union pushed back on an altered agreement, stating it’s belief that a March deal between the two sides — one that gave players prorated salaries dependent on the number of games played in 2020 — settled the pay issue.
….That March agreement seemed to be ignored, bypassed, discarded, or ignored by the MLB as they belatedly realized that their bottom line would suffer more each home game with no/few fans.
…The MLBPA may file a grievance within 45 days of Manfred posting the schedule. Seemingly, they are determined to see the owner’s books so as to clearly show that the owners are earning more than they claim in the talks. If the MLBPA does file that grievance, I believe that they’ll be punting away even more fans…maybe for a year…maybe permanently. Let’s just say it….owners ARE going to make money…more money than their employees (the players). If owners don’t make more money, the players won’t either!
…Throughout these many weeks, we saw each side “air” their opinions about how dastardly the “other” side was in these talks. The primary focus…sometimes, it seemed like the ONLY focus…was the money. I seldom heard/read about the talks on the safety that both parties seemed to be “dissing” until after the talks on money were resolved. The fans got turned off over these money issues. Both parties seemed to be punting the primary issue (health) to the other end of the field.
…Shockingly to me…in the early part of these heated negotiations, the MLBPA had agreed that if no settlement was reached, the MLB could establish the number of games on the schedule. This concept still shocks me! If a MLBPA had 2 major goals—pro rated pay & as many games as possible …why would you allow the MLB to finalize the maximum number of games on the schedule if you couldn’t reach an agreement? Why give away the one of the biggest bargaining chips (other than safety)—the number of games. That was a MLBPA punt—giving possession to the MLB.
…Clearly the talks led to many changes to baseball…..we’d have expanded rosters with a taxi squad but no real minor leagues. There would be a new approach to extra inning games….in every extra inning, the lead off batter would be put on 2B to open the inning. I suppose that both sides may have been concerned about going to “too deep” or too long into an extra inning game and ruining their bullpen. True, there be a shortened schedule which will have very few “off days. There will be 60 games in 66 days. But, the pitching staffs will probably be 15 pitchers deep. Frankly, I don’t recall many extra inning games going past the 12th inning with many….seemingly…ending in the 10th inning. The only stats that I could find in this regard…in a 10 year stretch (2009-18), the Cubs played 25 games beyond 12 innings (2.5/year!) At any rate, this rule (putting runner on 2B) has been used in college softball where pitching dominates. Often there are 1-0, 2-1 type games in college softball…. you don’t see those type scores with any regularity in ANY baseball level game. It has been tried in minor league ball and the results were just want the MLB/MLBPA wanted…using this runner on 2B start, the games were over by the end of the 10th inning 73% of the time…not the 45% w/o it in 2018-19 year! I’m thinking that both the MLB & the MLBPA punted on this one…..they wanted to show the public that they REALLY could cooperate with each other by agreeing on at least one issue……an issue that occurs in only 8.7% of the games since 2012…a superfluous one that may save 1 or 2 innings of action!
…I’ve already written in great length about the disappearance of the minor leagues. It seems like the “taxi squad” will stay in one stadium working out & playing intrasquad games …ugh. Some… many of those players will be punting away a wasted season.
…in a strange sort of way, the owners punted the “good of the game” for the good of the pocketbook right now. The owners . as the guardians of the game, SHOULD want to develop interest and excitement in the game of baseball. In the long run, past this year, the owners will want fans to return with the fervor of the past. But… when fighting to have fewer games, it became clear that the owners goals did not center around the fans but the money. This comes after a year (2019) when the owners revenue grossed $10.7 billion dollars. First of all, many times we become immune to the size of these gigantic numbers. How about this…. 10.7 billion minutes equals(app)21,400 YEARS! Yes….they are making huge, huge sums of money. Some experts…..that leaves me out….felt that for the 1st time in MLB/MLBPA negotiations, many fans favored the union over the owners. Some saw it as an obvious monetary short term grab by these billionaires in this dispute.
….once a game begins, there will be NO rain out games. If stopped prior to the 5 inning minimum required to make it an official game, the game will be considered suspended-not rained out. That means that it will continue at some point later on in the schedule. means that if the game advances to the 3rd or 4th innings, both those teams will wait HOURS to complete the 1 or 2 more innings to make it an official game. I suppose that this is a necessity with so few “off” days. I believe the MLB punted against the fans & players on this issue. With so many teams playing on artificial turfs fields, the turfs often become slippery when wet. It seems much more likely that a player will get injured in that situation. The fans in attendance, you could be waiting for a long, long time to “make it official”. Is there absolutely ANYTHING worse than sitting in a outdoor ballpark when its raining? Further the fans choose–either wait for who knows how long for play to resume or they leave when the game is halted (which will be under 5 innings) and get shortchanged for the price of their ticket.
…it seemed to me from afar, that these negotiations became much too personal for both sides. Each side was “hell bent” on obtaining concessions on several areas of disagreement. This contentious environment led to a WIN-LOSE battle instead of each side obtaining some points and conceding on other points. In the long run, the good of the game was punted deep and far away from the fans. I’m thinking that some…maybe…many of the fans will have moved on from the sport after this airing of dirty laundry in public. To that point….in a recent KMOX poll on @KMOXsports Twitter page with nearly 1000 people participating, it found that 57.4% of baseball fans voted that they are now less passionate about baseball then they were 3 months ago. 4.1% said that they are MORE passionate while 38.5% indicated that their feelings had not changed about baseball. A disclaimer here….having a poll on twitter may….probably….ignores the feelings of many, older baseball fans. The Cardinals do rely heavily on that “older” segment of fans…just look around some time at the ball game and you’ll see what I mean about that reliance. The obvious reason is the cost of the tickets. Young folks, generally, don’t have that kind of “spending money”. The MLB/MLBPA will both have to work to solidify their fan base(young and old) or they’ll be punting away billions or millions of dollars in the future.
….Now both parties will have to work hard on addressing the virus concerns. Safety is paramount and it will necessitate innumerable logistical changes before, during and after the game for players and fans alike. The teams will have to walk a very long high wire rope to ensure safety is of the utmost concern…they can’t punt that away! Last Friday 3 teams — the Phillies and Blue Jays in Florida and the Giants in Arizona — closed their training facilities because of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases. Soooo…there are many concerns still hovering around the start of baseball. It’s a pity that it took so long to reach a conclusion on the money matters of the sport. The MLB/MLBPA punted away too much time and a lot of good will with their extended, prolonged negotiations that robbed both sides additional time to consider many possibilities ..then solve… these medical concerns.
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