The talks in Major League Baseball's attempt to finalize a restart plan for the 2020 season are likely to stall before they really even start. And it's about money. Let's be clear up front about this: The optics are bad for all parties involved. Millions are unemployed right now. Lots of people are having trouble making ends meet. None of these people want to hear about players who make millions of dollars to play baseball complaining about money.
We are in an unprecedented situation because of the coronavirus pandemic. That isn't the fault of anyone relating to Major League Baseball. Still, the situation needs perspective.
Major League Baseball had revenues in excess of $10 billion last season. For 17 straight years, MLB has set a new record for seasonal revenue. And yet,. Have fun lining that one up.
The players are the talent and they are irreplaceable. Their salaries have been suppressed by owners making more money than ever before. Back in March after spring training was shut down,that the players would get prorated salaries if and when a 2020 season was played. So, if they play a half season, the players get half of what they were going to be paid for a full season. Sounds fair, no?
Except now the owners no longer like that arrangement. They have decided that the players should get 50 percent of revenue in a season that will be played either mostly or entirely without fans in attendance. The league has seemingly tasked the MLBPA with distributing that slice of revenue to the players how it sees fit.
It's management vs. employees. Management is making more money than ever, but employee salaries are decreasing. The employees are irreplaceable. An agreement on 2020 salary is made, but then management reneges.
Let's also point out the players would be the ones putting their health on the line in an abbreviated season. Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle put this year.
The owners aren't risking their personal health. They are trying to get games going so they can salvage as much money as they can. Are the owners going to lose money? Absolutely. They aren't going to take it well. They're already operating in bad faith and it's already evident that more than just the 2020 season will be impacted.
At every single turn, the players end up taking the hit, not the owners. They've been seeing record profits for years, but now when it's time to sacrifice mere millions (yes, millions are "mere" when it comes to billionaires), owners will try to drag players down and put blame on them publicly.
It's could very well work in many circles. Calling players "greedy" has been a popular refrain. It's millionaires vs. billionaires and somehow the "M" side -- the talent that brings in the money, mind you, and is taking all the physical risk here -- gets slapped with the greedy label.
So please, baseball fans, keep perspective. We don't love watching owners sitting in their luxury boxes. We watch the players. The players are the product and deserve better treatment than the owners looking to further suppress salaries after already making a deal in March.
I urge you, please join me and be #TeamPlayer.