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UCOMM: Side with the Players

Owners are putting the MLB season in jeopardy by reneging on a deal they made in March

Kris LaGrange's picture
Jun 17, 2020

"Tell us when, tell us where" that seems to be the message from players all across the league. Whether they are the minority, those making tens of millions a year, or the majority of players making tens of thousands a year. Most people think that every ballplayer makes a ton of money and that's just not the case, the vast majority of players are getting paid at or slightly above the league's minimum wage.

If you're a fan of sports talk radio like I am, it seems like many fans have been fooled already. They are turning their own frustrations with their personal finances on players whom they have never personally met. The owners want you to believe that it's the players' greed, but really it's the owners' greed that has prevented the season from starting. They were successful with the same narrative during the 1994 baseball strike, but this time it is UCOMM's intent for you not to believe the bullshit. That is why we are urging you to side with the players. Find out more about the negotiations below. -Kris LaGrange

On Monday, the commissioners of the major US sports went on ESPN’s The Return of Sports special to discuss reopening their respective leagues. The appearance of MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred was especially noteworthy after he said that he was not confident that the league would have a 2020 season.

Manfred’s comments came just days after he said "unequivocally, we are going to play Major League Baseball this year" and pegged the likelihood at "100 percent" only to change course just a few days later. In his interview with ESPN, Manfred tried to blame the players saying "I'm not confident. I think there's a real risk, and as long as there's no dialogue, that real risk is going to continue. The owners are 100 percent committed to getting baseball back on the field. Unfortunately, I can't tell you that I'm 100 percent certain that's gonna happen."

Negotiations between the two sides have been ongoing since March when the owners agreed to a deal that called for prorated salaries and allowed the commissioner the ability to set the season schedule. Since that agreement was signed, the owners have been trying to backtrack and reduce player salaries. The MLBPA has held firm saying that the players want more games and their full game salary. The latest owners’ proposal would have reduced salaries to 70% per game.

In response to Manfred’s comments, players have begun tweeting "Tell us when and where" and including a statement from MLBPA President Tony Clark saying:

Players want to play. It’s who we are and what we do.

Since March, the Association has made it clear that our No.1 focus is playing the fullest season possible, as soon as possible, as safely as possible. Players agreed to billions in monetary concessions as a means to that end, and in the face of repeated media leaks and misdirection we made additional proposals to inject new revenues into the industry – proposals that would benefit the owners, players, broadcast partners, and fans alike.

It’s now become apparent that these efforts have fallen upon deaf ears. In recent days, owners have decried the supposed unprofitability of owning a baseball team and the Commissioner has repeatedly threatened to schedule a dramatically shortened season unless players agree to hundreds of millions in further concessions. Our response has been consistent that such concessions are unwarranted, would be fundamentally unfair to players, and that our sport deserves the fullest 2020 season possible. These remain our positions today, particularly in light of new reports regarding MLB’s national television rights – information we requested from the league weeks ago but were never provided.

As a result, it unfortunately appears that further dialogue with the league would be futile. It’s time to get back to work. Tell us when and where.

The ball is now in the league's court. The players are ready to go and they are ready to play under the current agreement, but Manfred and his billionaire owners are trying to squeeze every cent out of the players in an attempt to weaken them before next year’s CBA talks.

Although negotiations have appeared to have broken down, ESPN’s Jeff Passan is reporting that on Wednesday, Clark and Manfred met in an effort to find a solution and save the season. ESPN is also reporting that at the meeting the league proposed a 60 game season with full, prorated salaries. According the MLBPA's Twitter, no agreement has been reached yet.

 

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