June 17, 2020

Commissioner Rob Manfred Foolishly Guarantees A 2020 Season Before Admitting, Five Days Later, There's A "Real Risk" Of No Season At All

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred:
June 10, 2020:
We're going to play baseball in 2020. One hundred percent. ... [O]ne way or the other, we're playing Major League Baseball.
June 15, 2020:
I can't tell you that I'm a hundred percent certain [a 2020 season is] gonna happen ... I'm not confident. I think there's real risk [of no 2020 season].
Heck of a job, Brownie.

On June 12, MLB proposed a 72-game season (July 14-September 27), with players receiving 70% of their prorated salaries for the regular season and 80% if the postseason is completed.

The Union rejected that offer and countered with an offer of an 89-game regular season with full prorated salaries and expanded playoffs. The owners turned that down. Manfred said a counter-proposal "consistent with the economic realities we're looking at" is being prepared.

Agent Joel Wolfe dismissed the owners' constant cries of poverty:
The Marlins played without fans for 15 years, yet still managed to give a player the biggest contract in sports history [Giancarlo Stanton], and then sold the team for a billion dollar profit, with 5 competing buyers.
The Union says the players "resoundingly reject" any additional salary concessions and according to executive subcommittee member (and Nationals pitcher) Max Scherzer, there is "no justification to accept a second pay cut based upon the current information" provided by MLB.

It is also reported that as many as eight owners currently would rather not have a season at all.

Ken Rosenthal (The Athletic) writes:
Rob Manfred finally seems to be figuring out he has no choice: Strike a deal with the union and salvage the 2020 season, or ruin his legacy as commissioner of baseball.
Who knew Manfred's legacy was still unruined?

I'm not sure if Rosenthal believes his own words. He also writes:
The best commissioners offer statesmanlike presence and superior vision. Few ascribe those qualities to Manfred, and few would argue baseball is in a better place since he took over for [Bud] Selig on Aug. 14, 2014. ...

[F]or a guy who suddenly is looking for peace, Manfred sure has a funny way of showing it. ... Unless making dead-on-arrival proposals, tone-deaf public remarks and other assorted blunders is your idea of negotiating savvy. ...

What complicates the situation is that some owners might not want to play at all. ... [T]he owners say they will lose money in every game without fans if the players do not accept a pay cut. But the players adamantly oppose a cut, and the owners have yet to make a proposal without one. ...

Most owners will be in the game longer than most players, enabling them to eventually recoup their losses from 2020, then profit from their franchise's resale values. ...

If he blows this, it will define him.

1 comment:

Jim said...

Yeah, I read the Rosenthal piece yesterday and thought--"legacy??Manfred?? wtf is Rosenthal talking about?" Maybe he had a brain cramp and thought he was live on FOX instead of writing.
Anyway, I'm a baseball lifer with my first memory dating back to 1953 and I'm at the point where I'm more curious about how they'll fuck up rather than looking forward to games. That, and wondering how MLB-TV will rationalize keeping my already paid 2020 subscription.
Zero confidence in either party.