The Giants, A’s and every other MLB team faced a lot of uncertainty on when, and if, the 2020 season would start. It appears the same situation could happen heading into the 2021 season.
MLB and the MLBPA reportedly are at odds again, USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported Tuesday. MLB wants to have players vaccinated for COVID-19 prior to arriving at their respective spring training sites and would like the 2021 season pushed back until May, even if that means the season would be compacted down to 140 games or less.
The players want all 162 games and to be paid in full.
Sounds familiar, right?
A National League team owner told Nightengale there wasn’t a “snowball’s chance in hell that spring training can start with protocols in place.”
“I think there will be significant pressure for players to get the vaccine first before they go to spring training, and if that has to be moved back to April and play 130 games, so be it,” the NL owner, who chose to remain anonymous, told Nightengale.
The NL owner also added that it doesn't seem likely for the season to start on time without the players being vaccinated.
An American League owner mirrored those sentiments, telling Nightengale they didn’t care how many games were played: “We have to make sure everyone is safe to do this right.”
The 60-game season in 2020 took a while to implement because of the back and forth between the league and the MLB Player’s Association, as they haggled over a start date. That had to do with everything from salaries, the safety protocols and the new rules that would be implemented in an unprecedented season.
After countless rejections from both sides, it appeared a bloodbath was about to ensue. A similar story could be playing out once again.
It appears MLB would want most players and “Tier 1” personnel alike to be vaccinated heading into the season, but that’s just the beginning of negotiations and it also is the final year of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, which expires Dec. 1, 2021.
The CBA deals with everything from a player’s minimum salary, length of season, spring training, injuries and postseason formats. Both parties need to agree upon all aspects. It goes without saying that things could get dicey.