Baseball’s inability to come up with a plan for the 2020 season has been a source of growing frustration for fans since the beginning of quarantine, and while there has been news of proposals sent to the players from the owners, nothing has been close to being agreed upon yet.
The biggest bugaboo is that the owners want the players to take even less money than the previously agreed upon prorated salaries. The players remain steadfast that they don’t want to be paid less on a per-game basis. That’s an issue when you consider that the owners probably won’t be taking in any gate money over the rest of the summer even if there is baseball.
Karl Ravech of ESPN reported today on the latest proposal made by the owners.
That’s more “generous” than some of the previous offers, but according to baseball insider Jon Heyman, the players still want 100 percent of the prorated pay.
One area where there seems to be room for compromise is in the postseason structure. MLB can pretty much do what it wants as far as expanded the postseason, and that’s important because playoff games mean big television money. That money might be able to make up for some of what the owners are losing in gate revenue. If the players agree to an expanded postseason, the extra revenue might allow the owners to get closer to those salaries that the players want. Maybe there’s hope after all.
Assuming that an expanded postseason can help close the revenue/salary gap, the biggest issue becomes getting the players to agree to more postseason games. I’d think that the increased chances of being able to compete for a title would trump any additional health issues, but October baseball probably doesn’t have the same appeal when you’re playing in an empty spring training facility rather than a packed MLB stadium. Maybe if everything goes well with the coronavirus (big “if”), the action can shift to home stadiums with fans in attendance once October hits. That might be exciting enough to put baseball back in the national spotlight, even if the NBA Playoffs are taking place at the same time. The only way that becomes a slight possibility, though, is if the owners and players come to an agreement in the next few weeks. Eventually, some combination of games, salaries, and postseason expansion has to work for both sides.