Negotiations will follow with the meeting between the MLB and the MLBPA. For this plan to be successful, it does require players’ support. They will have to come to an agreement if MLB is the first team sport to return after the coronavirus pandemic.
The proposal includes a spring training that would start in June, with the season following that in July.
Owners are worried about the financial loss without fans in the stands, but it would hurt even more without baseball at all. They have agreed in the proposal to split the revenue 50/50 with the players if they will return.
However, Jeff Passan of ESPN believes that a portion of the agreement is likely to be rejected.
“Because MLB is the lone uncapped team sport in the United States, never has a straight revenue split been part of the game’s finances. The MLBPA is almost certain to reject that element of the proposal and counter that a March agreement between the parties guaranteed players a prorated portion of their salaries depending on the number of games played.”
This could be one of the biggest differences in playing a season or not. Players also have more objections than just the financials. Washington Nationals pitcher Sean Doolittle tweeted his concerns.
“Bear with me, but it feels like we’ve zoomed past the most important aspect of any MLB restart plan: health protections for players, families, staff, stadium workers, and the workforce it would require to resume a season,” Doolittle tweeted. “What’s the plan to ethically acquire enough tests? What’s the protocol if a player, staff member, or worker contracts the virus?”
Key Aspects of Proposal
- An 82-game season with divisional play and limited interleague matchups that are logical geographically (AL East vs. NL East, for example)
- Postseason with 14 teams instead of 10
- Games will be played in ballparks in states that are approved by the state and local government
- Universal designated hitter
- A 30-man roster with a taxi squad with as many as 50 players available
The meeting with the MLB and the MLBPA will be key whether fans will see baseball this year or not.
A rule change that makes sense, especially this year, is the universal designated hitter. It has been on the table for several years.
But switching the playoff picture on a half year seems to be a little strange. With things being different enough, it’s an odd time to change something to that caliber.
There are many hoops that will have to be resolved if this plan is a success. The UFC has proven it can be done, but that is on a much smaller scale.
More tests, more traveling, and more employees will have to be considered throughout the season. It’s almost guaranteed there will be some positive cases. Seeing how they react to those will be interesting to watch.