Owners Or Players?

By Rich Mancuso/ Sports Editor

When boxing promoters begin the process of a mega fight the negotiations of earnings begins at a 50/50 split. There are other elements in the process as they bargain and usually it becomes a 60/40 split with both camps.

With Major League Baseball, and the process of starting an abbreviated season, the process is getting more complicated as it pertains to revenue for the players and owners. 

Blame the baseball politics now on COVID-19 and the pandemic. Boxing, of all sports, well that depends on who you want to believe when the negotiations conclude with their politics. 

Basically, and as you have heard with MLB and the players, this is about economics with the billion dollar owners wanting it their way and the mega million ball players looking at it another way.

And they can’t come to an agreement about a split. 

There is a major division here.  Each day passes with that question of when, where.  How would they commence a different 2020 baseball season with economics as the answer?

Though it should be safe first. Proper testing and protocol to assure that players, coaches, umpires, and other personnel are not at risk of the coronavirus. Instead, it goes back to the question, who wants what? Is it greed of the players or the owners?

Regardless, we all want baseball. We need that diversion. But, this has to be done the proper way, if not there is no way.

A prorated rate of 82 games, projected to be half of the players salaries was negotiated in March with players and MLB and that concludes in two weeks. 

Sources said, the players union would need to return that money received if and when an abbreviated season begins and that’s one of the issues that gets more complicated.

And to the multi-million dollar contract player that does not appear to hurt them in the pocket. To the minimal salary player, that amounts to a major difference. To you, the fans, who would be shut out of the ballparks, it’s both parties racking in revenue.

It’s about those hurting and fighting to put food on the table that are more important than baseball and all sports at this point of time. That, my friends, is more important than playing the game of baseball and a labor war that is developing into a clash between billionaires and millionaires.

Safety, though, as one insider said to this column list is more important.

“Other than filling the pockets of owners who are safe at home watching the games, it is not going to get the economy going or help the blue collar workers who still will not be back at their jobs. If one person, player, a team personnel becomes infected, is it worth it? What’s the hurry?”

“So they put another asterisk in the history books. It will be a flea on a mountain as far as the important things in baseball history.”

Yes, baseball should not be a priority at this point. The issue of economics and position of bargaining with another contract for players and owners is not the priority.

And when some of the top names in the sport offer their opinion, as they did Thursday, believe me, it’s not only about the money, rather the safety of players and their families along with other personnel.

Something is being said that a certain person in the White House is dictating moves telling the owners to get the economy moving. But that is simply my opinion. 

“Don’t know what else they can do with the safety.” said a NL insider.    “Think they will play, but if they don’t adhere to the agreement made in March about prorated the players won’t play.”

In the meantime, there have been discussions of starting a second spring training in a matter of weeks. Players have been informed to stay in shape and prepare. 

One player contacted said, “They are not telling you that they don’t replace the 83 percent of our salaries we spend on hotels and food.” 

Others contacted said they want to play but safety was more important to them and their families. In other words, money to them is important but not the issue here. A majority, as one said, “are not for this proposal.” 

So payment of a split that would go more to the owners does not seem fair. Then again, we should not be in this discussion when a pandemic has caused many to lose jobs, and not knowing what the future holds. 

Players have been informed to not sweat in locker rooms.  Spitting would not be allowed for safety issues, difficult for a ballplayer because they are creatures of habit.  

Teams would play in home ballparks with no fans if permitted. And of course, no fans means revenue lost from ticket sales, concessions, and parking. 

As of Friday, no word about opening up cities that are major markets to baseball  including  New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit. Toronto and the Canadian border is closed, so the Blue Jays would play at their spring training base in Dunedin Florida.

The Mets and Yankees have a reported contingency plan. They could  possibly play home games at spring training complexes in  Tampa and Port St. Lucie Florida.

Designated hitters in both leagues, a 14-game postseason, games against divisional and regional opponents, expanded rosters to 30 as proposed  is not the issue.  

“There is no minor league system,” said the insider.” That could be an issue if a roster player is not available to play due to injury. 

The amateur draft, scheduled for early next month, is also a question and would be reduced to five rounds. The owners did not want that.  

So it is back to this issue of a season or a lost one. The Marlins and Tampa Bay have furloughed most of their employees and suspended their health plans and that is also an issue.

An issue because it has that impact regarding the well being of office personnel, scouts, and those who are the forefront of a Major League Baseball franchise.

 MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said on CNN Thursday night,” And if we don’t play a season, the  losses for the owners could approach $4 billion.”

The owners, he said, feel that it is important for the game to be played. 

Yeah, this isn’t boxing and more complicated for baseball when it comes to a split. Who would have ever thought this would be so difficult? 

Not a player will take less money and that seems to be the overall consensus.  For now, but if they want to play the economics of this will happen. Remember, though, proper safety protocols are more important.

And more importantly, the general public does not want to hear about who is right or wrong here.  But the owners have the money and can give in if they want their game to be played. 

Comment: Ring786@aol.com  Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso

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