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The Tuesday Discussion – Will There Be Major League Baseball in 2020?

This week we asked our writers:

Do you believe that we’ll see Major League Baseball in 2020?

They responded…

Lincoln Mitchell: No. The discussions about the 2020 season are deeply intertwined with the renegotiation of the basic agreement. That has made both sides less amenable to compromise.

Ed Botti: I may be jaded because I lived through the 1981 strike, and remember it very well, in addition to 1994, and I’m sorry to say the current divide is even larger. The top salaried players are facing a 78% pay cut in 2020 via the MLB plan vs a 30% cut offered by MLBPA.

That’s a lot of yardage to gain. So, I’m pessimistic at this point, and would have to say no based on the current state of affairs.

Patrick Gunn: Right now, I’m not sure if we are going to see Major League Baseball. Both the Player’s Association and the owners seem as far apart from each other as possible. Ken Rosenthal did a great job outlining the distrust and frustration that has built between both sides. That being said, playing baseball would provide a massive morale booster that could help wipe away the recent negative publicity that the sport has created. Even so, the union and the owners need to realize this fact sooner rather than later. Based on their current trajectory, the PA and the Owners will not come to an agreement. Therefore, there will probably not see baseball this year, but this could change within a week. The players and owners could come together in the next three weeks and make some form of an agreement. At this moment, however, it’s a long shot.

Matthew Cohen: I think that we will. The league doesn’t make much money on regular season games without ticket sales. They make a ton of money on the postseason because players don’t get paid much more and tv revenues are very high. Their proposal of a short regular season is a rather clever negotiating tactic. I think that a compromise will appear out of thin air in the next week or two.

Paul Semendinger: Baseball seems to be so clueless. The sport had a grand opportunity to step-up and be the game for the people. All they had to do was say, “We will play.” Every other sport has figured this out. Instead we have players and owners fighting. We have the minor leagues being gutted. We have a draft reduced from 40 to 5 rounds. Baseball looks bad. Real bad. Unless, they look in the mirror and see how they are destroying the sport and whatever goodwill the fans still have left for the sport, there won’t be a 2020 season and the sport might be on life support. What a shame.

Derek McAdam: I believe that one way or another, there will be some form of a baseball season played this year. Baseball is the only sport that does not have any sort of plan to begin play, and according to several writers they are not even close to an agreement. My guess is that the owners and players will both realize that some season is better than no season at all, and probably end up playing about one-third of a regular season. The sport took a long time to bounce back from the 1994 shortened season, and there is no guarantee that they will be able to bounce back from this. Fans all over social media are beginning to take the stance of “there is no baseball and I don’t miss it that much.” Their take is if there’s a season, great. If there isn’t, that’s fine too. This may be a big reason as to why baseball must and probably will start back up sometime this year.

Tom Russo: At this point it is becoming incredibly difficult to envision baseball being played in 2020. We have seen a host of plans proposed to the MLBPA and every single one has been shot down with not so much as a counter proposal. The owners just today announced their latest plan for a 72 game season, and the prompt response from the players was that the proposal was the worst they had seen yet, doing anything but inspire confidence. It seems clear that the players are unwilling to budge on salary but at this stage in the game the money they are looking for is frankly unrealistic. The proposed pay cuts are necessary for the league to be able to cover its expenses. The bottom line is that in the midst of a pandemic and a recession, if players cannot accept the terms, we won’t see baseball, and that seems to be the road we are heading down.


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