This weekend, the Major League Baseball Players Association rejected the owner’s last proposal through a statement by Executive Director Tony Clark. The players asked the commissioner to set the 2020 schedule and tell them when and where to report to work.
Rather than get us closer to a baseball season, this response only sets the stage for the players to file a grievance claiming that the owners did not do all that they could to play as full a season as possible. That will likely lead to a work stoppage, either through a strike or a lockout.
On Monday, commissioner Rob Manfred walked back statements from a week ago and said that he is “not confident” that there would be an MLB season in 2020.
Even before the coronavirus pandemic, Major League Baseball was struggling with a myriad of issues, including pace of play, revenue sharing, and the inability to cultivate new young fans. Next summer’s negotiations on a new CBA were always going to be contentious.
Now, thrust into immediacy, they are downright savage.
The nauseating back and forth between the owners and players has only fortified the wall between the game and its fans (or potential fans).
As we creep closer to a season without baseball, we asked The Turf writers to weigh in on a simple question: Do you care?
With the product suffering, the players and owners out of touch with their fan base, and the potential for NBA and NHL playoffs to fill the summer months, do you even want baseball back this season?
At this point, I don’t really have strong feelings either way. If it comes back, fine. I’ll probably watch some games here and there but I’m not going to follow it regularly. It’s not like the Tigers really stand a chance of going to the playoffs anyway. This whole negotiation process has just left such a bad taste in my mouth.
It’s kind of like any vice. I’ve gone this long without it and I’ve been just fine. Sure, I’ll enjoy it when I indulge again but there’s no real strong desire to break that seal.
I think baseball needs to sit down and have a real long tough talk with itself.
I also could not care less if baseball comes back. I would take a total work stoppage the following year too if it ensured a better on the field product upon its return. Baseball has suffered long enough from the players’ collective unwillingness to improve the fan experience by bending just a little. The sport can’t be fixed until the players acknowledge how relatively irrelevant baseball has become in the current sports landscape.
The biggest reason that I want baseball back because I miss playing fantasy baseball. I do love the game itself, but the product has become so hard to watch on a nightly basis.
It doesn’t seem likely that a 50 game season is going to happen, but if it does, I think it would be interesting to see what the game looks like when there is some urgency to the season instead of it being a slog.
Of course, a 50 game season basically would be an exhibition since any title won (real or fantasy) doesn’t have much, if any, legitimacy.
I’ll be honest. I don’t care if they come back. 50 games is a stupid amount of games. Plus, I’ll be watching the NHL and NBA playoffs and then right into football. So I’ll pay close attention sometime in October, but there’s going to be a lot going on.
This is all cost vs. benefit analysis right now. Is the end result (having baseball in 2020) worth the cost (the absolute nonsense we’ve been put through)? To me, no.
And there are multiple reasons for that. The first is that this whole negotiation has been dumb and I’m tried of it. No one is listening to the other side, we’re at a stalemate and the NHL and NBA have already come up with plans that include a schedule as well as health and safety plans. The MLB has none of that. Shut it down.
Also, remember all those times we’ve been told that the sport was dying off and fans didn’t car enough anymore? …Who doesn’t care now? Maybe the calls for a resurgence within the fandom was a lie? Maybe all that tension was manufactured to keep us coming to the ballpark? The owners, the league and the players do not seem worried. So that rumor of the game’s death seems like it’s been debunked.
The main reason for me not caring about baseball in 2020, is that I’d rather have baseball in 2021. These negotiations have been an absolute bloodbath, and we’re going to go through another negotiation for the new CBA in 2021. If you think this is bad, that negotiation is going to be way worse. Shut it down, figure out the new CBA, take all the time you need.
Just stop the madness.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments!
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