The NBA and NHL have been able to agree upon a return to play format after the coronavirus put a temporary hold on both seasons, but the MLB, which has had the start of its season delayed because of the pandemic, continues to squabble with its players association as to how to go about playing games in 2020.
Throughout the past month, league officials and the MLBPA have been unable to reach an agreement on issues such as salary and the number of games that can possibly be played this upcoming season, as well as when those games should be played. In the most recent proposal from the MLB owners, a 60-game regular season was offered, and it was reportedly not received well by the players association. It’s likely to be rejected — and that’s when things get interesting.
Early word: 8-man union Executive Subcommittee may be near unanimous for rejecting MLB’s 60-game framework/proposal and instead letting commish set schedule. May be 7-1 for no w/Daniel Murphy seen as possible dissenter. Unpredictable but rank/file may also lean opposed to MLB 60.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) June 20, 2020
With a deal between the players and league officials looking less and less likely by the day, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred may eventually be forced to create his own schedule unilaterally, which he has the power to impose on the players per an agreement made between the two sides on March 26.
If and when that happens, expect the final number to be noticeably less than 60 games. And right on cue, the players will be able to blame Manfred as public enemy No. 1.
Despite the haggling going on between the players association and the MLB brass, the players themselves remain eager to get back on the diamond. They’re understood to be seeking a regular season of 70 games or more, and many of the MLB’s stars have taken to social media to express their desire to play.
Tell us when and where. https://t.co/hy157hOYkl
— Bryce Harper (@bryceharper3) June 16, 2020
While Manfred has been the subject of a lot of rightful criticism for his handling of the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal in addition to his uneven efforts to forge a plan to start the 2020 MLB season, it is clear that the MLBPA is putting the burden on Manfred so that he will bear the brunt of the outrage if the schedule he creates is not agreeable.