It’s officially the middle of June, and there is still no baseball. However, one way or another, we’re going to have baseball this year. Let’s check out the latest from around the league.
Not surprisingly, the Players Association rejected the most recent proposal for the 2020 season. The plan called for a 72-game season, with the players receiving 83% of their prorated pay, which wasn’t enough for the players.
Rather than work on a counterproposal, the players have decided to stop negotiating and accept a season of any length as long as they receive their full prorated pay, as per their agreement in March.
On Saturday night, the union’s Executive Director Tony Clark released a statement in which few punches were pulled, saying: “Further dialogue with the league would be futile. It’s time to get back to work. Tell us when and where.”
The Next Step
The players are asking to be told of MLB’s plans by the end of business on Monday. Of course, the union and the owners still have to agree on health-and-safety protocols before any formal second round of spring training can begin.
The sides have not been as far apart on safety protocols as they have been on money, so an agreement on how to keep the players healthy during the pandemic shouldn’t be an issue. At this point, the season isn’t likely to start before the middle of July and will likely consist of roughly 50 games.
There was good news for baseball this week, although it came at a terrible time. MLB has reportedly reached an agreement with Turner Sports for broadcasting rights for both regular-season and postseason games.
Turner’s current deal with MLB was set to expire after the 2021 season, so this deal ensures that TBS will continue to air games, including playoff games. Of course, while the deal is reportedly worth around $1 billion, news of such a contract at a time when the owners are claiming that owning an MLB team isn’t profitable doesn’t exactly back up that stance.
Read the Letter
As if things aren’t bad enough for baseball nowadays, the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal is back in the news. A New York judge has ruled that a letter MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred wrote to the Yankees about the sign-stealing tactics the Astros used during the 2017 ALCS should be made public.
The ruling comes about because the Astros, Yankees, and Red Sox are all defendants in a lawsuit that’s been filed by players of daily fantasy sports because of the scandal.
The Yankees are arguing that making the letter public would cause “significant reputational injury.” The fear from both the Yankees and MLB is that the letter could say something different from what Manfred said about the Yankees publicly during the scandal.
The letter will reportedly be unsealed on June 19, although the Yankees are likely to file an emergency appeal to prevent it. Both the Yankees and MLB could also a redacted version to prevent the names of specific players or coaches from being named.