Anyone who followed baseball over the past few months is well aware the league’s negotiations with the MLB Players Association for the 2020 season were anything but smooth.
The two sides went back and forth, trying to make the other look like the bad guy when in reality, the sentiment of arguing over money during a pandemic put everyone in a bad light. The players maintained that they wanted the full prorated salaries that owners agreed to pay them in March, so the negotiations came down to how many games would be played.
While the MLBPA went down from 114 to 70 games in their proposals, it wasn’t enough for the owners as they would not go above 60. Instead of compromising in the middle to make everyone happy, the two sides could not come to an agreement.
Thus, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred used his power to impose a 60-game season. Since the owners didn’t make every effort to play as many games as possible as they promised to do in the March agreement between the two sides, it is possible that MLBPA files a grievance against them, which would lead to more disputes in the future.
Additionally, since MLB was not willing to go above 60 games, the MLBPA didn’t allow for an expanded postseason in 2020, as the owners wanted. In an interview of The Dan Patrick Show, Manfred stated that he believes that was a mistake on the players’ part:
“Look, we did get a suboptimal result from the negotiation in some ways. The fans aren’t going to get an expanded postseason, which I think would’ve been good with the shortened season. And the players left real money on the table. They left $25 million worth of playoff pools, $33 million of salary advances. But that’s what happens when you have a negotiation that instead of being collaborative, gets into sort of a conflict situation.”
This is yet another example of the league and owners trying to make its own players look bad to save their own reputations. There also are other factors.
While everyone could have made more money from an expanded postseason, it also opens the possibility of teams below .500 going on a run and winning the World Series. That result potentially could have further cut into a season whose validity is already being questioned because of the length.
That being said, MLBPA executive director Tony Clark did suggest he still is open to discussing an expanded playoff field for this year.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events and more!