Cubs

Grayslake Central upsets Huntley

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Grayslake Central upsets Huntley

By Bryan Bonato
Yourseason.com

Grayslake Central had lost three games in the last 11 days, and Huntley hadnt lost three games all season.

But youd never have known it by how the teams played on Friday night in the inaugural season-ending battle between the champions of the Fox Valley Conferences Valley Division (big schools, Huntley) and Fox Division (small schools, Grayslake Central).

The host Rams led the entire second half and knocked off the highly regarded Red Raiders 52-47 to build momentum heading into Class 3A regional play next Tuesday at Antioch.

For my money, thats how you want to end the regular season, said Grayslake coach Brian Moe. You play a great team thats well-coached in a playoff atmosphere.

You want the bragging rights of being the team that wins the first one (battle of division champs). We host the sectional. If were lucky enough to get back here, we wanted to establish that this is our house and were not going to lose here.

For its part, Huntley hadnt lost here, there or hardly anywhere all season. It came into the game 24-2, with losses only to Palatine, Fremd and Elgin.

But Red Raiders coach Marty Manning literally only had one player step up on a night when the opposition was fired up.

Bryce Only, a 6-1 junior guard, had 16 points, five rebounds and five steals. He also had all eight of his teams points in the third quarter, which ended with the Raiders down 39-36.

He came to play, said Manning. The best trait Bryce has is that hes a competitor. When his back is against the wall, hes going to fight. We needed eight guys to play like that.

In the fourth quarter, Grayslake led 42-40 with 2:30 left before Savonte McWilliams converted a plus-one layup for a 45-40 lead.

Huntleys Amanze Egekeze, a 6-6 sophomore forward (the teams leading scorer on the season, but held to 12 on Friday), then hit two free throws to make it 45-42 with 2:15 to play.

After a series of misses at both ends, Grayslakes 6-7 Casey Boyle (10 points in his first game back from an ankle injury) hit two free throws to make it 47-42 with 49 seconds left.

Troy Miller of Huntley bombed home a three-pointer with 36 seconds left to make it 47-45, but Jordan Taylor hit two free throws with 29 seconds and Boyle hit two more freebies with 12 seconds left to seal the deal.

Grayslake Central (18-8) had lost to Zion-Benton, Crystal Lake Central and Grayslake North in its last three real tests, but the Rams got a spark from Boyles return.

I thought he did a great job, said Moe. Ankle-wise, we were pretty conservative with him, knowing some of these games at the end didnt mean a whole lot. We taped him up pretty good. I think he had a better chance of blowing out a knee (than hurting his ankle) with all the tape he had on.

On the Huntley side, Only was disappointed with the way the game unfolded.

It was an important game to us, he said. We wanted to come out, play hard and run our stuff right and show we were ready for the playoffs.

His coach, also, was frustrated with the performance of the RedBlack.

We had a lot of guys who were not there tonight, and that made us physically not there, Manning said. The proof was the offensive rebound we gave up, and some of our turnovers in the first half. Its disappointing that in a big game at the end of the year, some of our guys came out as flat as they did.

Huntley begins regional play at home against Rockford Jefferson or DeKalb on Tuesday.

MLB's biggest problem in negotiations: 'I just don't trust those guys'

MLB's biggest problem in negotiations: 'I just don't trust those guys'

Anyone who thought this was going to get done in a day or even a week has not paid much attention to the relationship between baseball’s owners and its players over the last three decades — never mind the last three years.

Major League Baseball, which squandered more than 20 years of labor peace by embracing a tanking culture and glacial free agent markets at a time of record revenues in recent years, now wants the players’ union to make concessions beyond the prorated compensation agreed to in March in order to play an abbreviated season during a global pandemic.

An MLB proposal presented to the players on Tuesday didn’t last long enough for negotiations to get far enough into the evening for a dinner break — union officials considering the long anticipated proposal “extremely disappointing.”

RELATED: MLB Players Association is 'disappointed' with league's financial proposal

Insiders say MLB is asking for “massive” additional pay cuts beyond the prorated salaries, and the sides still haven’t significantly closed a gap that remains “far apart” on safety and health protocols.

MLB said in a statement: “We made a proposal to the union that is completely consistent with the economic realities facing our sport. We look forward to a responsive proposal from the MLBPA.”

Talks that didn’t begin until mid-afternoon were adjourned by late afternoon for union negotiators to take the proposal to player reps before determining their next course of action.

If social media is any indication, fans have little patience for the conflict, no matter who is right.

And the union’s response Tuesday doesn’t mean a deal won’t eventually get done; too many on both sides have enough at stake to suggest there won’t be baseball in 2020.

But make no mistake about two fundamental facts underlying every part of this interaction: 

First, the players (and other essential personnel) are being asked to take the health risk at a time 17 states are experiencing daily increases in COVID-19 infection rates (and when Cook County has the highest rate of any county in the nation).

And, second, the owners spent the last several years sowing the seeds of discontent in the relationship through business practices that resulted — with intention or not — in back-to-back seasons of average salary declines for the first time since the union started tracking those numbers more than 50 years ago.

Did the players negotiate a bad deal during the last round of collective bargaining? No question.

But did owners and front offices underestimate the backlash from what had been a largely content rank-and-file until then? We’re about to find out.

At the very least, owners in a sport worth an industry-record $10.7 billion last year left themselves little reason to expect faith and goodwill from across the table as they seek cooperation during the downturn caused by the pandemic.

“I just don’t trust those guys,” one agent said Tuesday morning, even before the new proposal was presented.

A part of the proposal that was reported by MLB Network’s Jon Heyman didn’t exactly resolve the trust issue — with MLB suggesting a sliding-scale of percentage cuts in salaries that is seen as a wedge designed divide the players.

RELATED: How Cubs' high-priced roster would be impacted by MLB’s financial proposal

Modern, metrics-based evaluation trends already have conspired in recent years with age-old desires to spend less on players to make the “middle-class” of veteran players an endangered species.

Anybody who had a problem with that, or the downward trend of average salaries in general during the game’s economic high times, doesn’t understand how markets work, baseball’s commissioner suggested barely a year ago.

“I think it’s important to remember that the Major League Baseball Players Association has always wanted a market-based system,” commissioner Rob Manfred said during spring training 2019. “And markets change. Particularly when the institution around those markets change. We’ve had a lot of change in the game.”

That, of course, is the same commissioner who now seeks a shared burden of losses during this changed market. The same commissioner whose relationship with MLB began as outside counsel during the labor war of 1994-95 and who headed negotiations in subsequent years during a period of significant gains for the league’s billionaires.

That won’t suddenly turn millionaire baseball players into sympathetic figures as they fight to protect their interests during a national health and economic crisis that has claimed 100,000 lives and tens of millions of jobs.

Just don’t forget who was running the ship if it hits the iceberg.

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How Cubs' high-priced roster would be impacted by MLB’s financial proposal

How Cubs' high-priced roster would be impacted by MLB’s financial proposal

Part of MLB’s Tuesday financial proposal that riled up the players union involves a salary sliding scale that would theoretically spotlight the growing gaps between haves and have nots among players.

This part of the proposal, reported by MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, would mean players with the league’s highest salaries take the biggest pay cuts, and it could have a disproportionate effect on a Cubs team with one of biggest payrolls in game.

The Cubs entered 2020 with a projected luxury tax payroll of $216.65 million, fourth in MLB behind the Yankees, Astros and Dodgers. Prior to baseball’s shutdown, three Cubs were set to make at least $20 million this season in Jason Heyward, Yu Darvish and Jon Lester — who holds three of the four most lucrative contracts in franchise history. 

MORE: MLB Players Association is 'disappointed' with league's financial proposal

Seven other Cubs were set to make at least $10 million — Kris Bryant (the club’s union rep), Anthony Rizzo, Craig Kimbrel, Tyler Chatwood, Kyle Hendricks, José Quintana and Javy Báez. 

In March, the players agreed to take prorated salaries for this season based on the number of games played. According to Heyman, Tuesday’s proposal would entail minimum salary players not making 100 percent of their prorated salaries, but close to it. 

Heyman added the league’s top paid players would take about a 50 percent cut off their prorated salaries and therefore make 20-30 percent of their full salary over the proposed 82-game schedule.

ESPN's Jeff Passan and Jesse Rogers reported the breakdown of potential salary cuts. The figures still amount to players making several million dollars, though they also reflect how a 1/4 of the Cubs 40-man roster (those making at least $10 million) could take a big hit.

Though the players association characterized Tuesday’s proposal as “extremely disappointing,” it’s the first of what will be a long week of negotiations. 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Cubs easily on your device.