Good morning, Athletics Nation!
Welcome to the latest installment of the labor dispute between MLB and its Players Association. Things somehow got even worse on Monday, as Commissioner Rob Manfred said he was no longer confident that a 2020 season would happen. “Unfortunately, I can’t tell you that I’m 100% certain that’s going to happen,” he told Mike Greenberg of ESPN (click link to see video of full comment).
This statement by Manfred came just five days after he said “unequivocally we are going to play Major League Baseball this year,” putting a 100% likelihood on it. The sticking point he cited Monday was that if he imposed a short season, at a length the owners were willing to pay prorated salaries despite no fans paying to attend, then the MLBPA would file a grievance demanding more games be added (and thus more salary be paid out by the owners). (Note: He didn’t specifically say all of those details, but that is the issue he appears to be referring to.)
Be that as it may, that the players have that trick up their sleeve and could be planning to use it, the baseball world made it clear whose side they’re on in this debate. Jeff Passan of ESPN, one of the most respected writers in the business, pulled no punches in his column this morning — several times he quotes Manfred expressing a commitment to start the season, followed by the response, “Then do it.” Baseball Twitter was harsh in their criticism, and you can see a roundup of some of the best takes here (plus a few more in the Twitter section below).
The hope is that there’s no actual danger of the season being canceled, and that this is just a delay tactic by Manfred. The longer they take to start the season, the fewer games they can fit into the realities of the calendar. On the other hand, starting immediately (with plenty of time for more than 50 games) would give the players grounds to ask for a longer schedule, per the March agreement by the two sides that called for the “best efforts to play as many games as possible.”
We keep waiting for one side to blink and take the first step toward a real agreement, and the owners look like they’re scrambling for eye drops. Public pressure helped get Oakland A’s owner John Fisher to do the right thing and pay the team’s minor leaguers, so maybe it can help show Manfred that he needs to stop the theatrics and get the sport back on the field, even if it costs the billionaires a little extra money.
- A’s Farm: Scouts Weigh In On A’s 2020 Draft Picks
- Slusser: A’s Gone By: Lightning rod José Guillén talks racism, steroids and his amazing arm ($)
- Hickey: 12 Days That Shook MLB: Finley Sells Fingers, Rudi, Blue Only to be Overruled by Kuhn
- Hickey: OTD in 1991: Rickey Henderson Steals 4 Bases in a Game for 18th Time
- Gallegos: A’s Top 5 managers
- Hall: A’s 2020 Community Prospect List bonus: Ranking a few new top names
MLB News, & Interest:
- Nightengale: Several Major League Baseball players and coaches have tested positive for COVID-19
- Swartz: MLB Collective Bargaining and Risk Sharing
- Passan: MLB players said tell us ‘when and where’ to return. So tell them, Commissioner
- Passan: MLB’s Rob Manfred now less confident about 2020 season; players ‘disgusted’ by backtracking
- Rosenthal and Drellich: MLB does not want to implement schedule, fears grievance from players ($$$)
- Hickey: Believe It or Not, Baseball’s Problems Are Only Getting Worse With Time
- Cooper: MLB Pushes International Signing Period Start Back To Jan. 15 ($$$)
- Todd (roundup): MLB Warns Teams Against “Exorbitant” Education Offers To Undrafted Players | (original Cooper news tweet)
- MLB: Nondrafted free agent signing tracker
- Today in Baseball History
Best of Twitter:
For more tweets on the labor dispute, here’s our roundup from yesterday afternoon.
Two more new signings! Full story coming later today.
Have learned that A's have so far signed a total 4 undrafted amateurs as free agents. In addition to the pair of previously-reported catchers Will Simoneit & Cooper Uhl, have also signed RHPs Garrett Acton (3.75 ERA 3 yrs at Illinois) & Grant Judkins (3.72 ERA 4 yrs at Iowa). pic.twitter.com/DORM53NkQM— Athletics Farm (@AthleticsFarm) June 15, 2020
Sums it up well
Players said “When and where” and the owners had no answer.— Kerry Crowley (@KO_Crowley) June 15, 2020
Pretty much says it all.
Numbers are indeed tough
I don’t think Rob Manfred understands the meaning of “100%” pic.twitter.com/V7ALBBpgA3— Ben Ross (@BenRossTweets) June 15, 2020
So the next CBA should be a lot of fun— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) June 15, 2020
Just a massive missed opportunity
At a time MLB could be monopolizing the sports landscape, it’s instead making headlines for all the wrong reasons.— Joe Stiglich (@Joe_Stiglich) June 15, 2020
Tony Kemp starts an important conversation
After watching the events of the past few weeks, @tonykemp of the @Athletics decided it was time for Americans to start having a real conversation about race.— Infield Chatter (@InfieldChatter) June 15, 2020
So he started one himself. ✊ pic.twitter.com/M3OxGNb14k
... And he’s joined by many more players throughout the league
I have been in #baseball 40+ years, having suffered through the silence of many around me. Front office or the field, few faces reflect mine. This video & these young men have inspired my belief in a long-awaited #CHANGE throughout baseball. #mybrotherskeeper #proud @mlb #BLM pic.twitter.com/7YJXHjKvx8— Dave “Smoke” Stewart (@Dsmoke34) June 16, 2020