The MLB 2020 season has been on life support while owners and players agree only to disagree. Forget them; the real decider is making its presence known.
For three months, the MLB 2020 season has hinged on team owners and players figuring out a way to share the pain of a single season of reduced team revenues that spill into player salaries.
Just one season, that’s all, in a sport that bleeds ever-increasing revenue ($10.6 billion in 2019) and profits for everyone – still, the two sides have yet to get it done.
The MLB 2020 Season Was Never In the Best Hands
It’s best not to engage in instant history. Still, it’s safe to say the legacies of Rob Manfred, MLB Commissioner, and Tony Clark, President of the players’ union (MLBPA), will suffer immensely in the aftermath of these failed negotiations – as well they should.
If you noticed the use of the past tense, that was intentional.
Although still breathing, these negotiations, even if there is some version of the MLB 2020 season, have proved to be the sorriest excuse for talks between ownership and labor representatives.
False starts and empty hearts, together with media manipulation, wasted days, self- interest emails – we’ve seen it all, and baseball is tarnished because the adults in the room have failed us.
MLB 2020: The Elephant Is About To Step In The Room
But with a sweeping touch of irony, baseball may be saved from itself. The elephant is stepping into the room.
COVID-19 is breaking out with stepped up cases in the most unfavorable places for baseball.
On Friday, the State of Florida and The Florida Department Of Health reported more than 4,000 new Covid-19 diagnosed cases.
The surge is not a surprise, and its source tracks to Governor DeSantis overzealous taunts to the virus.
Come on down was his call to major league teams wishing to reopen their Spring Training facilities.
His message to the NBA was the same – have your season in Disneyland. No one noticed the metaphor at the time.
COVID-19 doesn’t answer to politicians choosing to put their blinders on instead of a mask.
The Philadelphia Phillies, Toronto Blue Jays, and New York Yankees have all reported incidents of players and other team personnel testing positive at Florida based sites in recent days. Final testing results have yet to be tabulated.
In the meantime, MLB has ordered the closing of all Spring camps until further notice.
The dream of an MLB 2020 season way well be over, despite the childish and counterproductive efforts of both owners and players to do otherwise.
MLB 2020: May Better Minds Prevail
Some, like Donald Trump and Ron Desantis, offer, “Sure, more people are testing positive. And do you know why? It’s because we’re testing more people!”
As though that’s supposed to be a revelation of the most exceptional order. And maybe that could be why a car driven with more miles is in the repair shop more than a vehicle with fewer miles. Duh.
In any event, we’ve reached the endpoint of hope, denial, and prayer that someway, somehow, the MLB 2020 season would find its way into our homes, and at least some sense of normalcy would return to our lives.
Officially, negotiations between owners and players are on hiatus until the MLBPA, MLB, and the Center For Disease Control (CDC) can evaluate the strength of COVID-19, not only in Florida but in all 30 major league cities.
A vote on a 70-game season by the players was scheduled for Father’s Day but was postponed indefinitely.
Let’s Just Say It: The MLB 2020 Season Has Struck Out
It’s always amazed me that money was the central issue in the exchanges between the owners and players – when the health risks associated with the gladiators in the arena – the players should always have been front and center.
Now, those risks can no longer be ignored.
It was New York’s esteemed Senator Daniel Moynihan who once said: “Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but no one is entitled to their own facts.”
Wishing COVID-19 away or poo-poohing the risks, even among players who decide they want to enter the arena of free will, must be non-negotiable, and the MLB 2020 season canceled in the best interests of everyone.
And that is said by someone who has been a passionate fan of baseball for more than a half-century, and not without lament.