Major League Baseball has rejected the MLBPA’s proposal for a 114-game shortened season and will not send the union a counter-offer, as The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal first reported on Wednesday:
MLB rejected the union’s proposal for a 114-game season and said it would not send a counter, sources tell The Athletic. The league said it has started talks with owners about playing a shorter season without fans, and that it is ready to discuss additional ideas with the union.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 3, 2020
While MLB and the union still have time to come to an agreement, the days are running short if the league wants to complete its previously stated goal of having a second spring training in June and beginning a shortened regular season in early July. Rosenthal reports that the league is still willing to discuss different ideas with the union, but it certainly doesn’t help that the owners seem totally unwilling to pay the players what they’re worth. And the players seemingly aren’t going to back down from their demands for the prorated salaries they previously agreed to, so unless the union is willing to agree to the bizarre 50-game plan the league has discussed, things aren’t looking great at the moment.
The New York Post’s Joel Sherman tweeted Wednesday that he’s heard more pessimism following the latest development in the negotations than at any other point since the season was delayed indefinitely.
I have heard greater pessismism today from folks on both sides about MLB launching a season than at any point. People who previously thought the sides would find a way, now expressing at least greater doubt (often more than that).— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) June 3, 2020
There’s certainly a valid argument to be made that it would be unfair to ask the players and other team personnel to put their health at risk for the entertainment of others. With that said, most fans probably aren’t going to buy into that argument, especially if the NBA and NHL ultimately return this summer and the NFL plays its next season before MLB does. While many Americans’ understanding of labor relations have increased over the last quarter-century and they’ve developed more anger towards 1-percenters such as MLB owners, the overall dysfunction of this whole situation has a chance to drive fans away from the game just like the 1994 strike did. And it’s difficult to imagine a wave of superstars like Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Ken Griffey Jr. restoring the game to prominence again in a few years if the league takes a year-and-a-half off, so these negotiations definitely figure to have a huge effect on MLB’s future.