Beware baseball fans: the 2020 season could be in serious jeopardy.
After the Major League Baseball Players’ Association (MLBPA) rejected MLB’s first proposal for a COVID-19 shortened season last week; some owners have reportedly said they’d be okay with missing the season all together.
“Sources say there is a group of owners perfectly willing to shut down the season, to slash payroll costs and reduce losses, and the disparate views among the 30 teams have been reflected in the decisions to fire and furlough,” said ESPN’s Buster Olney.
Back in March the players agreed to accept prorated salaries, getting paid proportionally to how many games are played. But in the proposal for 2020’s season, the owners suggested a further pay cut especially for those players with the biggest contracts.
Someone like Mike Trout, who’d normally make more than $37 million in 2020 would instead make less than $20 million. While that is still obviously a lot more money than the average American makes per year the players do have a compelling argument.
First and foremost they are the ones who incur the most risk by actually playing and exposing themselves to more people. Also with the millionaire players already having taken a pay cut from the billionaire owners, some think the owners should shoulder more of the financial burden.
“I’m not playing unless I get mine, OK? And that’s just the way it is for me. Like, I’m sorry you guys think differently, but the risk is way the hell higher and the amount of money I’m making is way lower. Why would I think about doing that?”
Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer took to Twitter to express his views on the situation.
Some MLB owners aren’t going to win any popularity contests for their handling of the COVID-19 crisis.
Bob Nutting of the Pittsburgh Pirates has suspended contributions to team employee 401k’s; while the Oakland A’s John Fisher announced they’d no longer pay minor leaguers the $400 monthly stipend in June. Hundreds of other minor leaguers have also been cut with the expectation of no minor league season.
With so many regular people losing their jobs; average Joe fans will likely have little sympathy for any billionaire’s one bad year. If the squabbling continues and money — not Coronavirus — cancels the season it would be inexcusable and likely cause massive damage to the league’s relationship with its fans.
The MLB has had a rough offseason, especially with the way they handled the Houston Astros sign stealing scandal. Players and fans alike called out commissioner Rob Manfred for his lenient punishments of those involved; which involved a $5 million fine, season-long suspensions of manager A.J. Hinch and GM Jeff Juhnow and the loss of draft picks.
With what would be two catastrophes compounding upon each other if the season got canceled for anything other than health reasons; some fans could decide to stop supporting the league. With baseball already losing a following of younger kids and fighting the stigma of being a boring game; it could have massive implications down the road.