The Wall Street Journal reports that labor relations between Major League Baseball players and owners have gotten ugly, and are likely to get uglier.
According to the story, "The Major League Baseball Players Association on Saturday said it would no longer discuss a restart plan after rejecting a proposal that called for them making no more than 37% of their salaries for 44% of a typical season. The players have said they would only return to play if their salaries are prorated based on the number of games played, as called for in a deal the union struck with the league in March."
That deal also allows MLB commissioner Rob Manfred to unilaterally impose a solution on the two sides, but if he takes the owners' side instead of the players, it is likely to create enmity that will carry into future labor negotiations, which are not that far in the future - as the Journal writes, "The current collective bargaining agreement expires after the 2021 campaign. The relationship between the two sides has sunk to such depths that it is hard to imagine anything but acrimony defining the national pastime for the foreseeable future. After the strike that resulted in the cancellation of the 1994 World Series, it took a dozen years for attendance to return to previous levels."
- KC's View:
This is a tough one.
While I know the owners are taking an enormous hit, there are limits to my sympathies - these are, for the most part, fabulously wealthy people and companies that are not feeling anything near the pain being felt by small businesses all over the country. I'm more worried about the sports bars that may go out of business than I am about the sports, which will survive.
I also recognize that this is a matter of richer people (players) arguing with richer people (owners). There is a part of me that thinks, a pox on all their houses.
But … If the owners originally agreed to prorate the players salaries based on the number of games played, I'm not sure why they get to renegotiate now and argue that they should only pay a percentage of those prorated salaries. And also, let's face it - the players are the ones who will be putting themselves and, potentially, their families at risk of illness and even death. Is it possible that some player will get a respiratory disease that could be career-ending? Absolutely.
In fact, I tend to think that no matter what happens in terms of player-owner relations, in the end this won't go very far - either during the training period or the beginning of the season, it seems likely that there will be a breakout of the coronavirus, and they'll have to shut the thing down.
I say all this … but I have to say that I am hungry to watch baseball. So I hope I'm wrong.