The players’ frustration appears to have boiled over in an attempt to start the 2020 season, with Padres Tommy Pham tweeting no baseball in 2020.
No more than five days after MLB Commissioner discussed the league’s return-to-play status during the abbreviated Amateur Draft, he stated that “100 percent there will be a season.” A couple of days later, the MLBPA formally rejected the owners’ final proposal, indicating “tell us where and when,” alluding to the league’s likelihood of implementing a 50-ish game season.
Well, things continue to take a turn for the worse, as Manfred told ESPN on Monday that he’s “not confident” there will be a 2020 baseball season. Despite the league being capable of mandating a shortened season, they reportedly told the players’ association there would not be a season unless the MLBPA signed waivers freeing the league of liability should players contract COVID-19.
I recall when the league first presented their proposal to the owners and the MLBPA, economics were secondary thoughts, with health and safety being the primary focus.
Players who tested positive would have been temporarily relocated to a testing site in Utah and would have to test negative twice before resuming play. So, it would seem that the league was preparing for the possibility of players contracting the virus.
However, now the league has changed course, claiming infected players cannot sue MLB should any player test positive. In his discussion with ESPN, Manfred said, “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 gonna happen.”
But it’s difficult to believe anything that he says at this point, given how many times he’s gone back on his word. The Association seemed intent on ending negotiations, having the league implement a 50-game season, and reporting to wherever their first game was.
And now that seems like a real long shot. Oh, and it’s certainly a preview of what’s to come once the Collective Bargaining Agreement expires after the 2021 season.