MLB players, finally, are finding their game with a bold proposal calling for a 114-game season with playoff excitement running well into the fall.
It’s taken some time, but the MLB players’ union is finally finding its footing in negotiations on money matters with MLB owners that stand in the way of hearing the call, “Play Ball” on the 4th of July.
The MLB players union (MLBPA), according to always out front The Athletic, have submitted a new proposal to the league that amps the current 82-game regular season up to 114-games.
The regular season would end on October 31, and there are to be no further pay cuts beyond the one initially absorbed by MLB players back in March when a fifty percent across board cut was agreed to.
If agreed to by MLB, the schedule sets up the distinct possibility of a postseason that runs concurrently with most of the NFL season, and prime-time World Series games during the Thanksgiving holidays.
Both Sides Win – What’s Not To Like?
To be sure, MLB players are not cavalier in their proposal to give baseball fans more games than the league has proposed. After all, more games mean more television money in everyone’s pockets.
The Athletic story adds, “A Major League Baseball spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment. The league’s position to this point is that the owners would lose more money by playing than not unless players take a further pay cut.”
The MLB players union also tossed a brand new element into ongoing negotiations. Among those provisions: the right for players to opt-out of playing this season if they choose.
The union’s proposal says any players who are deemed “high risk,” or who live with someone “high risk,” can opt-out and receive both service time and pay. All others can opt-out as well, but would only receive service time, not pay.
MLB Players Shift The Ticking Clock To The League
The MLB players have pretty much shifted the game to the bottom of the ninth inning that requires a response from the league.
A three-week “Spring Training” is dangerously close to becoming two. MLB players have scattered across America and the world, and for those still out of the country, visas and travel still need to be arranged.
For players and possibly their families, there is also the difficulty of finding living quarters for a shortened stay, as opposed to the usual two or three-month rental where their team’s facilities are located.
Still to be revealed is the 114-game schedule itself. Will there be interleague play? Which teams will be playing in their home ballparks – and if not, where will they play their “home” games?
Will travel restrictions between Canada and the United States be lifted, paving the way for the Toronto Blue Jays to be a full participant?
And what about the remaining sticky safety issues – like the one MLB players inhaled with a resounding – no way! (no showering at the ballpark)?
MLB Owners – Return Serve
At this point late in the day, hopefully, the league will not counter with a brand new offer of their own, choosing instead to accept (with a modification or two) the players’ proposal. For instance, the league says no to 114 games, but yes to 100 games.
Most will argue this should have been wrapped up long ago, and that the public posturing by both sides has benefited no one.
If not for the fact the current agreement between MLB players and owners is so close to expiring (end 2021 season), a quicker settlement may have been reached.
But in the real world, these negotiations are serving a lab experiment for both sides, a time to see which ideas might have legs and which ones have no standing at the table.
I’ll say this, who cannot be in favor of more baseball instead of less? It’s pure genius by MLB players.