An abbreviated 2020 MLB season to wager on is in question, especially after statements made by commissioner Rob Manfred in a Monday ESPN interview.
“I know the owners are 100% committed to getting baseball back on the field. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you that I’m 100% certain that’s going to happen,” he said.
This is a turnaround from Manfred’s “100%” guarantee of a 2020 MLB season he made last week in another ESPN interview where he said, “Unequivocally we are going to play Major League Baseball this year.”
March agreements between owners and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) grants Manfred the power to unilaterally schedule a season. In this scenario, Manfred would determine the length of a shortened season and the players would have to be paid their full prorated salaries.
Months of negotiations, heavily focused on the pay of players and the length of a shortened season, came to a standstill over the weekend.
“Further dialogue with the league would be futile,” said MLBPA executive director Tony Clark. “It’s time to get back to work. Tell us when and where.”
Headline MLB players echoed this in a rallying cry over Twitter on Tuesday.
The league wants the MLBPA to waive the right to a grievance in response to a shortened season in order to avoid further opposition. Health and safety guidelines will also have to be agreed upon before a season can start.
A shortened season (approximately 50 games) starting midway through July and ending before October, to avoid a possible second wave of COVID-19, was recommended by the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci in a Los Angeles Times interview on Tuesday.