Baseball, America’s pastime, the sport we grew up playing and learned to love so much is in danger. This past off-season was a disaster and a half. The negotiations for the 2020 season were a mess among the global pandemic. Players were calling out the owners on social media, the owners were villainizing the players through the press, and the fans were stuck in the middle just wanting to watch the sport we love. Well we got our shortened season for now at least, but at what cost?
No Agreement Reached
The MLBPA (Major League Baseball Player’s Association) rejected the last offer from the owners for 60 games. Commissioner Robert Manfred is the only reason the season is happening. Manfred legally imposed the 60-game season. He was able to do this because the MLBPA and the owners agreed to a deal in March to play a season at pro-rated salaries based on the number of games in the season. The owners then desperately tried to renegotiate this deal, but the players would not accept any of the owners’ offers.
CBA Due to Expire
Due to these harsh negotiations, which were all made public, the relationship between the players and the owners is in tatters. Not to mention the fans are not happy with Robert Manfred and the way everything was handled. On top of all this, the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) expires in 2021 which could lead to a strike. No baseball in 2021 would be a huge blow for America’s pastime.
2020 Still in Jeopardy?
But wait there is more! The 2020 season still could be in jeopardy. Sorry everyone the pandemic is not over yet. At least 47 players have tested positive for COVID-19 so far as I write this in early July. The more the players see their teammates contracting COVID-19 the more the players will consider opting out. Ten players have chosen to opt-out so far including Ryan Zimmerman, Ian Desmond, and David Price. Even Mike Trout is considering opting out because he does not want to endanger his newborn which is due in August.
If the best players in the game are not playing, the value of the game itself will decline massively. Not to mention the delays in test results and all the cancelled workouts which could increase the risk of injuries. At some point, Manfred might come to the realization that baseball will not work in this pandemic nor is it worth it until there is a vaccine.
Would winning the World Series this year really have the same meaning? With almost a third of the games being played and players opting out, does a World Series title still hold the same value? Also, there won’t be any fans in the stands. Some stadiums are just harder to play in for the away team because of the atmosphere, especially in the playoffs. I think whoever wins this year would have to have an asterisk next to their title.
Baseball is in grave danger and not just for this season. The negotiations never should have been made public and the owners should have stuck by their original agreement. Fans are already disgruntled enough with all the rule changes and we might not see a full season until 2022. Who knows how many fans will give up on the MLB and move on in that time frame? As a huge baseball fan myself I really hope that it all works out, but things are looking ominous right now.
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