Let’s get it back to baseball.
There’s a bit of a war going on right now between the owners and players, with some folks arguing that the former is trying to take advantage of the latter by leveraging fan interest in a return to play to further cut salary.
To rewind, earlier this week MLB owners approved a league proposal for a shortened and modified season that would begin in July. This requires the union to sign off, but it includes a further pay reduction because owners say they’re going to lose money on games that are played without fans. Players had originally agreed in March to work with a prorated salary based on the shortened season.
Agent Scott Boras, who represents about 100 major league players, told USA TODAY Sports that all of his players are prepared to play right now and are willing to squeeze in as many as 124 regular-season games through October.
On one condition.
They will not accept a penny less than the prorated salaries they agreed to following negotiations with the owners on March 26.
“After this agreement was reached,” Boras told USA TODAY Sports, “you can’t come forward with a dynamic and say, ‘Hi, I want to privatize the gains and socialize the losses.'”
The biggest concern he hears from his players, Boras says, is not for their safety and welfare but their rights. The players trust that MLB will have plenty of testing and safety measures during the season but, considering they are taking the health risk, believe it’s unfair to ask them to assume any further financial hits.
So what you’re seeing now is that some people playing the “greed” angle, like fake outrage merchant Angelo Cataldi:
If the game of baseball does not resume because the players want more money, I am done with a sport I have loved my whole life. How dare they hold America hostage —during a pandemic! — because of their greed and insensitivity. This is your last warning, baseball. Play ball!!
— Angelo Cataldi (@AngeloCataldi) May 13, 2020
And then on the other side is this:
Translation: MLB leaks to media that owners agreed to a plan that was not done in collaboration with MLBPA, so they can get headlines just like this one, in the hope people will blame the players if they don’t accept further salary cuts in addition to the ones already negotiated. https://t.co/fIwIYKBCDZ
— Nick Francona (@NickFrancona) May 11, 2020
It’s an issue of trust, really. Major League Baseball doesn’t have a great history of labor negotiations with players. That’s why you see a lot of people raising red flags over what they deem to be unfair bargaining tactics in the middle of a global pandemic. If MLB and the players came to a compromise in March, then it’s only reasonable to try to honor that agreement moving forward.
You don’t want to strain this relationship any further, because there will be ramifications down the road, once we’re finally out of this COVID mess.