Despite multiple efforts, Major League Baseball team owners and the Players Association failed to reach agreements on an economic plan and length for the 2020 regular season.
While a shortened 60-game schedule has since been implemented by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, it is safe to say both sides are unhappy with how negotiations played out. The league and union were at each other’s throats for weeks, trading public barbs and refusing to budge off their respective requests.
At one point, a report surfaced that certain team owners were perfectly content with the possibility of the 2020 season being canceled. During an appearance on “The Dan Patrick Show,” Manfred explained that while that may have been true to some degree, the majority of owners always desired a 2020 season being played:
“I think if you gave everybody truth serum, there were one or two that were opposed to the idea of playing for health reasons. The vast, vast majority of our owners wanted to play. I think from the perspective of our owners, they’re making an investment in terms of additional losses in order to get the game back on the field, because we feel it’s important to get the game back on the field. We owe it to our fans.”
The biggest gripe players had throughout the negotiating process was that team owners wanted them to accept further pay reductions. The union maintained this was a non-starter, pointing to the March 26 agreement between both sides that promised players a full prorated salary.
Team owners, however, claimed this was only contingent on fans being allowed to attend games this season — a possibility that still seems more unlikely than not.
Among other topics Manfred discussed include the length of the 2020 season. He revealed his reasoning behind imposing a 60-game campaign and admitted that it would have been difficult scheduling more.
That’s despite the league making 80- and 72-game proposals to the union before settling on 60. Manfred later clarified his comments and revealed that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic was going to dictate the length of the schedule no matter what.
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