“We can’t work for these paltry wages!” said one side. “You won’t work if these are our paltry profits!” said the other. Ah, 1994 was so long ago, but it seems with the current state of things I might as well be four minutes ago.
Big breath: once again, the squabbles of Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association remind us how the inability of millionaires and billionaires to get along once cost us a World Series which then led to all sides turning a blind eye to steroid freaks cheating the game as it rode a wave of chemically-induced delirium back to a heightened level of popularity.
Now, the squabbling continues as players refuse to self-isolate during a time of COVID-19 (they certainly aren’t in the high-risk group, but their parents are), their union shows no backbone whatsoever, cornhole is now viewable live (no comments) and owners refuse to pay players for the number of games they play.
It’s not entirely clear whether the two sides are actually negotiating. It seems like they’ve been writing down messages to each other on wax paper, lighting them on fire, and then throwing the blob at the other side. Headlines in the last three weeks show the league most likely at fault for failing to do anything resulting in real games anytime soon as owners stall until there is barely enough time to play the number of games they really want.
On June 3, the Los Angeles Times posted, “MLB Owners Float Idea Of Playing Fewer Games While Agreeing To Prorated Salaries.”
Stalling tactics have worked well for the owners as their original offer of 50 games to a union offer of 114 was soon followed by, “MLBPA To MLB Owners: How About An 89-Game Season?” The union offer cut off 25 games just seven days after the other offer. The league countered with an offer of 76 games but basically pay them for only 57. One wonders if the same would hold true for other costs at the ball park including these specials, “Nine-inch dog for foot-long price!” and “Pay for a 16-ounce beer and get 12!”
Within 10 days, the MLB offer included no prorated salaries. Player rep Andrew McCutcheon accused the league of being disingenuous. Shockingly Commissioner Rob Manfred backtracked on his promise of a 2020 season being “100-percent.” Having played let’s make a deal long enough, the league then threw a monkey wrench in the works by telling the union the players would have to waive its right to a grievance hearing?
Then the league claims it had a deal for 60 games (114 down to 60 for the union for those counting at home) but the union comes back with 70, which the league now claims is disengenuous.
No matter, 20 days after MLB could’ve brought everyone to camp, quarantined them for 14 days and then started a season, they shut everything down again after Tampa Bay Rays, Philadelphia Phillies and San Francisco Giants compounds all report positive tests. Clayton Kershaw and Mike Trout said no way to self-isolation back in April, but who knows if that might be on the table.
Clayton Kershaw told SportsNet LA two months ago, “I’m just not going to do it.”
So the PGA, NASCAR and the ACL (American Cornhole League…duh) can have live events, but Major League Baseball cannot. 1994 wasn’t so long ago.