Well, here we go again, the players and owners can't seem to agree on anything.
This isn't the first time we have seen both the owners and players having two different mindsets when it comes to the game of baseball, these two sides are heading closer and closer to a work stoppage for the first time since 1994. At first it was about the players not getting their money and how many games they would play in 2020. After not reaching an agreement, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred (pictured above) instituted a 60-game season for the 2020 season, just to save the game of baseball for the short-term. Could deja vu happen again?
In the latest round of negotiations in regards to the 2021 MLB Season, the owners now want to delay the start of the season while the MLBPA says players are planning to start on time. So what is the issue now? The length of the schedule.
According to Dan Perry of cbssports.com, the owners would like for the players to be vaccinated for COVID-19 before Spring Training begins, and right now there is a heavy logistical lift in tandem with the limited amount of vaccines that are currently out there and when they will be made available for the general public. The owners fear that with the limited amount of the vaccine available and most citizens will have to wait until late March, early April to get access to it, the owners want to push back the season until May and pay a 140 game season, rather than the traditional 162 game season,
Of course, the players decide to be "prima donna's" once again and complain that they will be playing less games which means, they will get less money. For the highest paid athletes in the world, they sure do complain a lot. Then again, these are the same players that refused to take additional pay cuts while the pandemic was at it's first peak, these are the same players that refused to play the entire season in a bubble environment and insisted on playing in their own ballparks. These are also the same players that wanted to play a 120 game season from late July all the way through Thanksgiving, where Game 7 of the World Series probably would've been played.
Let's not forget, that the players don't want to play for anything less than their full salaries for a second straight season. They want to be paid in full for the 2021 season, which means, the players want to play a full 162-game season.
USA Today's Bob Nightengale when told about the contention by one National League team executive said: " I don't see a snowball's chance in hell that spring training can start without protocols in place. I think there will be significant pressure for players to get the vaccine first before they go to spring training, and if that has to be moved back to April and play 130 games, so be it. But to have 162 games , and start spring training at the normal time without players being vaccinated, that's just crazy."
Sounds like a simple request from the owners. Plus by May, travel restrictions should be lifted, the Toronto Blue Jays would actually be able to play in Canada after not being able to do so in 2020. Plus, there would be a great chance for owners to get fans back in the stands at a limited capacity to start with and then be able to go to a full stadium later in the season. Apparently, that isn't the way the players feel.
Let's rewind back about eight months ago. Owners were pressing for a season to salvage some type of revenue for the league in terms on television advertisements and National TV spots. While the owners were still trying to figure effective cost cutting measures to ensure the players would get their prorated salaries. However, the players said that "they didn't feel safe playing unless there are protocols in place." Blake Snell said he was going to be putting his life on the line if he played.
Now fast forward to today, and the players make a complete 180. They are comfortable playing a full season, and with them fully aware that they might not get the vaccine until a quarter to midway through the season, just so the players can make 100 percent of the salaries in 2021 after them losing their money in 2020.
ATTENTION MLB PLAYERS: Your true colors are showing In 2020, you were not comfortable playing due to the pandemic back in June and July, now that there is a vaccine but not being made public until sometime in late March, early April, and yet you want to start on time so you can get your full salaries and have no cuts, while the owners will continue to lose money because certain teams will not be allowed to host fans right away while others may be able to but at a severely limited capacity.
As long as the players get their full salaries, they don't care about anyone else, which is why baseball is a dying sport and could benefit from either the owners locking the players out or the players going on strike. The preference should be to have owners lock out the big cry baby players.
Some managers around the league via a zoom meeting said that they are "expecting" the 2021 season to start on time and will be a 162-game season. Astros manager Dusty Baker told Julia Morales that he doesn't know when spring training will start and then he proceeded to ask the media if they knew when camps were going to open. Baker did say however, that he will wait for official word before he gets ready for the 2021 season.
Due to limited number of vaccines and if the owners want everyone in baseball, from the owners to 26th man on the roster to be vaccinated and the season has to be delayed, so be it.
The question the players have to ask themselves is this. Are we hypocrites? Selfish? Or are we just completely and utterly greedy to the point in which we can't see the sun through the stack of Benjamin's that's under our mattresses? The players should take a deep look in the mirror and decide what is more important. Their safety and the safety of fans that would be allowed to attend their games again, or their fully guaranteed salaries.
Listen, the owners are just as guilty themselves when it comes to money. However, in this case, they are willing to sacrifice even more of the revenue stream in 2021 so that their players are protected, fans are protected and they can open the gates to the ballparks once again. For once, the owners are putting the players safety first, while the players are the polar opposite.
This writer, truly believes that both sides are just absolutely greedy and would like to see a work stoppage happen in baseball because it would be just be what the league needs. Although, baseball fans would disagree, despite the fact it might give both sides the time to decide the fate of the game.
However, if there is a side to blame, all signs point to the players. They could've easily played at least 82-100 games last season if they simply agreed to more of cut on their salaries. The owners weren't asking the players to play for free. But, the Players association chose to delay the season because of money and nothing more. Now, the start of the new season could be delayed again for the exact same reason as it was seven months ago, money.
MLB players have gotten just as bad as NBA players when it comes to negotiations. However, the NBA and their players association are able to meet in the middle and decide the best course of action together. The NHL and the NHLPA seem to be on the same page for the first time in an extremely long time. Though both sides still have their own issues, it's not enough to warrant a full shut down.
The persona of "I make you all the money in the world, I deserve everything" from the MLB players has gotten really old, really fast. You can make the argument that MLB does use their players likeness a lot in terms of merchandise and the video games such as MLB The Show and RBI Baseball, to which the players only see a portion of those profits. However, the players have been playing the money game for way too long and it has gotten to the point in which the only sport where you want to root for the owners, is Major League Baseball.
So the message here to the Players Association? Stop being prima donna's! Take the wax out of your ears. Put the stack of Ben Franklin's to the side for just a moment. The league wants to play a season just as much as you. They want to play a full 162 game schedule just as much as you. However, to ensure the safety of you, your coaches and your fans who want to see you play again in person, they are asking for one final concession on your part just so that can uphold the safety and well being of all who love the game of baseball. The owners are willing to take a bit more of a financial blow. Why can't you?
As of right now pitchers and catchers are expected to arrive at their respected spring training sites beginning, middle of February, with full team workouts just days after that. The first spring training games across Major League Baseball are expected to begin on February 27th, with Opening Day of the MLB Season expected to be on April 1st. All these dates are subject to change, depending negotiations.
Buckle up fans. It's going to be another long process to get baseball back on the field.