Pressure From Players Has MLB Owners Bending
MLB

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred speaks at the National Press Club in Washington on July 16, 2018. Credit: Getty Images / Win McNamee

Multiple reports have surfaced that indicate progress has been made in the effort to bring Major League Baseball back. Jeff Passan of ESPN, along with many others, have reported that a meeting was held between MLBPA President Tony Clark and Commissioner of MLB Rob Manfred.

According to Ken Rosenthal, some of the parameters that are being offered by the MLB include a regular season that begins the third week of July and consists of approximately 60 games in 70 days. The proposal also offers expanded playoffs for 2020 and 2021. Players would receive full pro rata for this season. Perhaps the biggest hurdle for players is their ability to file a grievance. Under MLB’s latest proposal the MLBPA would waive that right.

 

In what has been a whirlwind of emotion and ideas over the past several weeks, movement toward an agreement seems to be in play. The players have runners in scoring position. They have an advocate, not a device, who is picking Manfred’s pitches apart.

After a long, firm stance on what the MLBPA has considered “good faith” measures to get the 2020 MLB season underway, Trevor Bauer took to Twitter on Monday to perhaps ruin Manfred’s five-star dinner via a thread.

The message that Bauer delivered was one that resonated with both players and fans. It was an absolute thrashing directed towards the commissioner. The Reds’ pitcher pointed out many holes in the philosophy of the owners. Not only did he tell Manfred and the owners why they made counters they had proposed in previous meetings, Bauer also insinuated their course of action going forward. Which, collectively, was probably dead in the strike zone.

 

This response spurred from leaked information regarding what Manfred stated during a recording for ESPN’s showcase “Sportscenter Special: The Return of Sports,” which aired Monday night.

It was that message coupled with Manfred’s conjecture that has led owners to a position of submitting to insistence from the general public. You know, the normal, everyday people that don’t own a billion-dollar company in a multi-billion dollar industry. The kind of people who will have a harder time rebounding from a pandemic, whether they own a retail store, wash dishes or play baseball.

There is a reason major league franchises are bought and sold seemingly every year. It’s a rich business that features investing in goods and services, ala the players. The owners were banking on the players’ fragility in a dire year. The heavy contracts of Mike Trout and Max Scherzer are few and far between. One-year contracts abound. Many players are in limbo, but all want to play.

Thanks to the continued efforts of those like Bauer, the players have turned an uphill battle into a victory cry. The chant of “when and where” has flooded social media platforms from players of all backgrounds and skill sets. While the latest proposal is likely just the basis for what a 2020 season will look like, it sets the tone for both parties going forward. This time the players have the leverage thanks to their hardened stance and vilified message.