MLB commissioner Rob Manfred ‘not confident’ there will be 2020 season
By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Less than a week removed from ‘100 percent’ guaranteeing that there would be a 2020 MLB season, commissioner Rob Manfred admitted to ESPN’s Mike Greenberg that he’s no longer confident that the league will get on the field this year.
“I’m not confident,” Manfred said of the 2020 season. “I think there’s real risk [of not having a season]; and as long as there’s no dialogue, that real risk is gonna continue.”
Manfred’s fading optimism comes after what was a bitter weekend for the MLB and MLBPA, with the union rejecting the latest offer from the owners and going scorched earth on MLB’s negotiating process to this point. And in this fight for dollars, tempers certainly weren’t cooled with the word the MLB inked a billion-dollar TV deal with Turner Sports that same weekend.
“It’s now become apparent that these efforts [to negotiate a new deal] have fallen upon deaf ears,” MLBPA head Tony Clark wrote in a statement over the weekend. “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.”
The MLBPA’s chief negotiator, Bruce Meyer, was equally fired up in an email to the MLB over the weekend.
“Players remain united in their stance that a day’s work is worth a day’s pay, particularly in a situation where players and their families are being asked to take additional burdens and risks,” Meyer wrote in a letter to MLB deputy commissioner Dan Halem. “Given your continued insistence of hundreds of millions of dollars of additional pay reductions, we assume these negotiations are at an end.”
And according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, Manfred believes that the MLBPA “intended to file a grievance that the league had not fulfilled its obligation under the March 26 agreement to play the most games possible.” Manfred called that a “bad-faith tactic.”
Manfred also said that that owners remain committed to getting the game back this season.
“The owners are 100 percent committed to getting baseball back on the field,” Manfred offered. “Unfortunately, I can’t tell you that I’m 100 percent certain that’s gonna happen.
“It’s just a disaster for our game, absolutely no question about it. It shouldn’t be happening, and it’s important that we find a way to get past it and get the game back on the field for the benefit of our fans.”