MLB announced today the owners have unanimously voted to proceed with the baseball season per the terms of the March 26th agreement.
Major League Baseball statement: "In view of this rejection, the MLB Clubs have unanimously voted to proceed with the 2020 season under the terms of the March 26th Agreement." pic.twitter.com/mtPsloH6Be— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) June 23, 2020
Despite months of negotiation, the path forward will be the one laid out way back in late March, with none of the modifications that have been the highlight of recent discussions. That means a season of around 60 games, with players expected to report by July 1 and the “season” beginning somewhere around the last week of July, per Bob Nightengale.
In the statement, owners express how “disappointed” they were with the players’ rejection of their latest offer, the benefits of which are then listed in bullet point form including the universal DH, expanded playoffs format, and forgiven salary advances, before saying “the provisions above will not be operative,” which has some real parental “showing you the toy you could have had if you didn’t act up in the store before putting it back on the shelf” energy. Except, the ones who really miss out on the toy of a universal DH are baseball fans, who didn’t have any say in the matter to begin with. It’s just another example of how the owners are attempting to turn public opinion against the players, and the foreshadowing of an ugly labor dispute to come this off-season.
MLB players are more united than in recent memory. That is the story--not the views of an outlier or two firing off on social media. In the face of a legalized monopoly, the players stood up for themselves and drew a line in the sand.— Garrett Broshuis (@broshuis) June 23, 2020
I applaud them.
Also of note: the owners request a response from players by tomorrow, Tuesday June 22nd, at 5 PM EDT, with the response to two key questions: one, will players report to camp in seven days’ time (by July 1st) for spring training 2.0; and two, will players sign off on the health and safety protocols in the Operating Manual. It’s the second part of that statement that’s the most important, as it leads to some key questions like: What are these health and safety protocols? Who has established them, and how rigorously have they been reviewed by scientists and health professionals? Are they realistic? Are they effective in containing the spread of the virus? And, importantly, how much have players heard about these health and safety protocols, and how likely are they to agree to them? Again, as has been the case in so many of these negotiations, the part that seems to be the most important part is buried at the very bottom of the memo and contains the most unanswered questions. As COVID-19 infections spike across the country, these questions loom ever larger, and as much as I’d like to be excited about baseball coming back, I just can’t be until we have some more clarity on that front.