Baseball is roughly three weeks away from returning to our lives and as everyone involved gears up for a 60-game sprint, the fallout from the league's failed negotiations continues.
Commissioner Rob Manfred recently went on The Dan Patrick show to discuss the upcoming season as well as the challenges that came from a process that included so many offers and counteroffers. In one answer, he revealed the end result was inevitable.
"The reality is, we weren't going to play more than 60 games no matter how the negotiations with the players went or any other factor," Manfred said. "60 games is the outside of the envelope given the realities of the virus."
Considering negotiations went on for a grueling three months, these comments should make baseball fans feel terrific. They serve as another example at just how far apart the two sides were on a deal to resume play.
"It's the calendar," he said. "We're playing 60 games in 63 days right now. I don't see given the reality of the health situation over the past few weeks, how we were going to get going any faster than the calendar we're on right now no matter what the state of those negotiations were."
It's hard to ignore the players' refusal to accept further pay-cuts beyond their prorated salaries based on the number of games played as a potential factor in the shorter schedule. The union's offers routinely included schedules around 80-100 games, while the owners reportedly went as low as 50 games at one point during the talks.
However, due to the expected resurgence of COVID-19 in the fall, it became paramount to get the season completed as soon as possible. Neither side could come to an agreement, so Manfred had to impose a 60-game season.
"We did get a suboptimal result from the negotiations in some ways," he said. "The fans aren't going to get an expanded postseason, which I think would've been good with the shortened season, and the players left some real money on the table. They left $25 million worth of playoff pools, $33 million worth of salary advancement, but that's what happens when you have a negotiation that instead of being collaborative, gets into a conflict situation."
Supposedly the bright side in all this is we get baseball back, even if it's in a short season. The bad news? The relationship between the owners and players doesn't appear to be strong as we approach and new CBA in 2021.
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