The Waiting Game

Baseball is a game of waiting in many ways. From 1920-2004 the entire region of New England wondered if they, like so many before them, would live and die without ever seeing a Red Sox title. The two teams who call Chicago home, also went through long stretches in between titles. The White Sox waiting 88 years seems like a luxury when considering that Cubs’ fans had to wait 108. A collective 196 seasons passed between titles in Chicago, but that still seems preferable to the waiting game all baseball fans are currently playing.
June 2020 has not been an especially happy time for the game of baseball and specifically Major League Baseball (MLB) as a whole. Commissioner Rob Manfred stated on draft night (June 10) that he was “…100% sure baseball would be played in 2020.” Days later he would backtrack on that statement and all hell would break loose.

Then a day after his infamous “I’m not confident” quote, it seemed that the negotiation tactic had worked and MLB insider Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) dropped this on twitter on Wednesday June 17th:
Breaking: MLB and players union are closing in on an agreement to play the 2020 season, via players. Deal expected to be for prorated pay and include expanded playoffs.
Now social media has been a fickle beast. In the “information age” few social media platforms allow you to reach a wide audience but get up-to-the second news as Twitter.

The flip side of the coin is, usually people are wrong especially so-called league “insiders.” Two things immediately jump out from Heyman’s tweet.
First, both the owners (MLB) and the players (MLBPA) have met and agreed on the main points of the deal.

$80,000,000 is break even and what each owner gets if season cancelled
Players get $172,000,000 total if season cancelled.
If season is played the players and owners split 16 Billion dollars
Secondly, that sentence is “via players” meaning he got the quote from the MLBPA. Both points were proven false almost immediately and Heyman explained further what actually happened:
Breaking: MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and players union chief Tony Clark had what’s being called a productive meeting face to face in Arizona. Meeting was called at Manfred’s request
His tune has changed very quickly. There is a big difference from “closing in on deal” as opposed to “a productive meeting.”
So often MLB insiders are fighting to not only get a juicy story but also be the first to break it. So where do we go to find actual truthful information?
Fortunately, certain MLB players are using the platform to allow the fans to gain insight into the players mindsets during these negotiations.
Players like Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer (@BauerOutage) and Padres OF Tommy Pham (@TphamLV) have given fans a credible source when it comes to the current labor negotiations.
The MLBPA and the owners are in the middle of a labor negotiation battle and even IF the two sides can come to an agreement, another hurdle not only stands in the way, but cast a very dark shadow on the whole sports world.
Nearly every state in the United States has begun to open back up after the COVID-19 shutdown. Included in those openings have been sports teams allowing small groups of players to return to team facilities.

Unfortunately, as testing increases almost every team has dealt with players testing positive and beginning a quarantine period.

The Houston Cougars suspended voluntary football workouts after six players tested positive.

As recent as yesterday (June 19th) news broke out of Clearwater, FL that 8 Philadelphia Phillies players and staff tested positive for the virus. As of this time 20 other players and staff are awaiting their results.
So, while the owners and players fight over pennies on the dollar, the reality could be that COVID could be the major hurdle that keeps baseball off the 2020 calendar.

The twitter wars will continue, certain MLB insiders will not only be wrong but they will probably be wrong multiple times, and baseball fans will do what most of us are so well equipped to do; Play the waiting game!

By Brandon Ferst

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