Soooooo….the MLB Commissioner is going to decide when the season starts and how long it will go. You can get in-depth coverage of the he said / she said battle between the MLB Owners / Commissioners Office and the MLBPA basically everywhere, but…….
Here’s the short short version. The Owners conceded nothing, the MLBPA conceded longer playoffs and that didn’t really get it done. I blame the Owners 100%, but no matter who you blame, or what % you assign to each side, it is the Owners with all of the leverage and they, used it….I GUESS? However, I feel they lost quite a bit of public approval equity from this fight, at least with a good chunk of baseball twitter, which I admit is the nerdier more fanatic portion of the fanbase, but STILL….
DID MLB OWNERS OVER PLAY THEIR HAND?
I think they might have…..
The most recent MLBPA counter-offer, included expanded playoffs for 2020 & 2021
AND 89 games at full pro-rata salaries
However, who knows if they end up playing a full 89 games anyways given the COVID-19 flare ups that are occurring RIGHT DAMN NOW.
Remember, MLB Owners are gucci with ~50 games pro-rata, so we are talking about a grand total of 39 games difference that the owners didn’t want to pay for WITHOUT FANS (we’ll get to this in a minute). So one flare up that kills two-tree weeks of the season and you have knocked off half of the games that the Owners wanted to kill anyways and (in theory) they would still get their playoffs (those could get cancelled too, but imma bet they don’t).
This is all being contemplated without asses in the seats….NO FANS!…..but…….They could still end up with FANS in the stadium
New Zealand welcomed back sports with fans. The country hasn't had any new COVID-19 cases in three weeks.
(via @southernscoop) pic.twitter.com/PEcs8bAuwW
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 13, 2020
Now, I am not saying the US is going to get a clean bill of health in a month or anything like that, I think our situation is far more complicated and dealing with a much larger and more diverse population, however….there are still likely going to be stadiums with fans. It might not be here in Chicago, but you can bet some locations will allow some fraction of the normal crowd or even possibly full crowds at some point in the season. There’s revenue back in the owners pockets.
In closing, all of these scenarios are fluid, but I think the MLB Owners destroyed some valuable public approval equity by their display in this negotiation. They could’ve looked like a benevolent group and groups that look benevolent get their products purchased even during a crisis. Instead being a group that looks like the stingy misers the MLB Owners probably are, has the more aggressive of the population looking to actively boycott their products across all brands and the less aggressive folks, just giving a big fat meh to baseball in general. The MLB Owners could’ve gambled and still probably got everything they wanted.