2020 MLB: The Rob and Tony show moves to Phoenix – The heat is on

Rob Manfred and Tony Clark - a meeting of the "minds"? (arizonasports.com)

The 2020 MLB season is on, or so we are asked to believe based on a face to face meeting between the two sides. Caveat Emptor – let the buyer beware.

If the 2020 MLB season was a stove turned on and off as many times as our National Pastime in recent weeks, don’t worry, I’ll give you a break on the labor cost to fix it.

Finally, it seems that after dozens of emails and letters exchanged between MLB and the players’ union (MLBPA), many of which were intercepted by media before reaching their intended destination, the dog and pony show has moved to the heat of Phoenix.

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Purportedly, Rob Manfred (owners) and Tony Clark (players) met face to face for “several hours” in a Phoenix hotel to hammer out an agreement that will ignite the 2020 MLB season.

This exchange took place only two days after Manfred did a one-eighty on his assurance just days before that he was 100% sure there will be baseball this year. Skeptics like myself place Manfred’s reversal within the lines of the owners’ pre-written script.

A Metaphor For the 2020 MLB Season

If you have a dog on a leash and you keep tossing him a bone just out of reach, one of two things is bound to happen. Either he’ll go freakin’ nuts, ready to attack if given a chance.

Or, he will calmly lay down, realizing it’s only a game, knowing that sooner or later, you’ll intentionally toss him a bone within reach, thereby ending the game.

That is a microcosm of the 2020 MLB “negotiations” between owners and players. You can guess who played the role of the dog in the game.

So, the players have their bone, together with the agreement reached back in March, they will receive a pro-rated salary based on the number of regular-season games played, which at the moment is expected to be 60.

All set and ready to go (sportsnaut.com)
2020 MLB season: All set and ready to go (sportsnaut.com)

Meanwhile, Rob Manfred was handed a poorly written script based on a delay, delay, delay theme.

But he executed it perfectly. He was aided, however, by the entrance of an unwilling but still enabling partner in Tony Clark.

Clark made a grand gesture to fans with the proposal for a 2020 MLB 114-game regular-season that had the World Series ending during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

An intriguing idea, and one that succeeded in catching the attention of media and fans like myself, but it was also one easily sloughed off by team owners, along with a scolding to the players to get serious – for God sake.

MLB Owners Caveat To An Agreement

A 60-game 2020 MLB regular season beginning on July 17 leaves 79 days to schedule all games, reaching the owner’s magic date of September 27 at the end of the season.

From the owners’ perspective, it is critical from a TV revenue bonanza basis for the expanded (16 teams instead of ten) postseason to begin as early as possible in October.

Rightly so, with no fans in the stands for regular-season games and what they claim to be a loss of $640,000 for every game played in their home ballpark, it’s the postseason or bust.

Dr. Anthony Fauci weighs in on the MLB 2020 season (cnbc.com)
Dr. Anthony Fauci weighs in on the MLB 2020 season (cnbc.com)

This is why all is not necessarily well in the Arizona desert. If Manfred and the owners insist, as they have done before, that all salaried monies intended for the players be tied to the actual completion of the postseason, what’s next?

To muddy the water even further, in jumps Dr. Anthony Fauci with a report in the New York Daily News stating there are escalating risks associated with the 2020 MLB season extending into the colder month of October, with or without fans in the stands.

2020 MLB Season – Still A Wish And A Prayer

We want so much to believe there will be a 2020 MLB season. Fans, players, and dare we even say the team owners, unitedly stand behind one given. It is not summer in the United States if there is no baseball.

Baseball feeds us our dreams.
2020 MLB: Baseball feeds us our dreams.

The meeting on Tuesday in Phoenix, expected to be continued today, is a hopeful sign.

It heightens our yearning to see Gerrit Cole facing Jose Altuve squared off in the box facing the best pitcher in baseball today in a postseason rematch between the Yankees and Astros.

But this is not a baseball Fantasy League. And it is not the Field Of Dreams.

It is baseball spun together with an unpredictable coronavirus – in which baseball must take a second seat.

They’re talking face to face, and that is (finally) a step forward. But to say the 2020 MLB season hinges on solid ground is a pollyanna lunch we have been trying to digest for some time now.

It’s dinner time. Will the 2020 MLB season bell (really) be rung? Or has the entree grown cold on the plate?

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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.