MLB and the Player’s Union are at a stalemate, with neither side willing to budge at the moment. On one hand, you have the players who would like to make more money by playing more games. Ownership wants nothing to do that proposal.
When the MLBPA present their 114-game proposal to the owners this week, there was so much skepticism across the industry, that we knew from the beginning it would flop. That became true this week when it was announced that MLB had denied the proposal.
With that announcement came another rumor that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred was able to control the number of games played. As long as the league agreed to pay full prorated salaries, there is language in the March agreement that allows Manfred to determine the final number of games played.
Diamondbacks’ GM Ken Kendrick(via The Athletic) added fuel to the fire when he said this week that there was no way MLB could push games into November. The fear of the second wave of COVID-19 hitting in the later months of the year put the playoffs at risk, and Kendrick had said that this would represent too much of a risk for financial loss.
MLB super-agent Scott Boras has a much different opinion on that.
The NFL and college football – contact sports – could be playing in November, let alone December. MLB, a social distancing sport, says it can’t play playoffs in November. Apparently the NFL and NCAA medical experts think differently.
Boras has a point, given that the NFL and NCAA have talked about having fans in the stands for games. If the two leagues can be talking about spectators at this point, there must be some level of confidence that there will not be a second wave coming for them. MLB obviously has a much different opinion, or owners are using it as a crutch.
There is also speculation that the networks would not be satisfied with MLB pushing games in November. Networks have events scheduled out months and years in advance, so playoffs being pushed back to November for TBS and Fox Sports could cut into potential money.