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The COVID-19 Season II - MLBPA Turn Down Late Start, 154 Games, NL DH

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  • The COVID-19 Season II - MLBPA Turn Down Late Start, 154 Games, NL DH


    MLB owners reportedly want to delay start of 2021 season
    as uncertainty looms before MLBPA negotiations


    Owners reportedly want players to be vaccinated before beginning spring training

    16 Dec 2020, 10:35 AM ET

    by Dayn Perry

    In a replay of the run-up to the 2020 Major League Season season, MLB owners and players are poised for conflict over the length of the upcoming 2021 season. USA Today's Bob Nightengale reports that MLB team owners want players to be vaccinated before spring training begins and that heavy logistical lift in tandem with the limited availability of vaccines would mean spring training camps wouldn't open on time.

    That, in turn, would mean the regular season wouldn't start until May, and the 2021 regular season would span just 140 games instead of the usual 162. The Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), according to Nightengale, does not agree with this timeline and is pressing to play a full 162-game slate.

    Prior to the 2020 regular season, players agreed to prorate their salaries downward based on the number of games played. After owners pressed for salary concessions over and above that prorating, the stalemate yielded a 60-game regular season. Obviously, players would not prefer less than their full salaries for a second straight year, while owners would prefer not to pay those full salaries.

    Speaking of this potential point of contention, here's what one NL owner told Nightengale:

    "I don't see a snowball's chance in hell that spring training can start with protocols in place. I think there will be significant pressure for players to get the vaccine first before they go to spring training, and if that has to be moved back to April and play 130 games, so be it.

    "But to have 162 games, and start spring training at the normal time without players being vaccinated, that's just crazy."

    An AL owner echoed those sentiments in Nightengale's piece, saying there's "zero chance" spring training starts in February.

    Elsewhere around baseball, a number of team managers seem to have different ideas on how likely a full season is:

    While the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccines have already been administered, supply figures to be limited for some time, and higher-priority populations are in line to be the first to receive those limited doses. If league-wide vaccination becomes a precondition for the start of spring training, then it indeed seems likely that it won't start on time. All of this, however, is subject to negotiation. That means the situation remains fluid even as the calendar works its way toward the early days of February, when pitchers and catchers typically report.

    In addition to settling matters like the status of the universal DH and the structure of the postseason for 2021, MLB and the MLBPA must also reach an accord on what kind of season they'll play and how they'll respond to the ongoing pandemic. There's much work to be done before the real work of playing baseball begins




    https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/m...-negotiations/
    Are we in for another long and drawn-out fight between the Billionaire Bozo owners and the Millionaire Morons?

  • #2
    Well, at least for this particular issue, I can understand the hesitation.

    This is probably just a precursor too the coming war once the current contract expires. That is going to be a Battle Royale, I'm sure.

    Comment


    • #3
      When does the single shot vaccine becomes available?

      Convincing the government into using the MLB to showcase it seems like a good idea to me.
      Drew's Sig

      Comment


      • #4
        I don't know. Feels like a hard sell to give it to athletes in the entertainment business ahead of essential workers followed by brick and morter workers that need to keep the economy going.

        Comment


        • #5
          Baseball has followed suit with the other professional sports and stated they will no attempt to cut the line to vaccinate.

          https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/m...oment-of-2020/

          Comment


          • #6
            MLB Rule Changes: League Still Discussing Universal DH
            and Expanded Playoffs for 2021 Season


            Bob Nightengale
            15 Jan 2021, 3:41 PM ET


            PHOENIX -- Major League Baseball, fearing that the pandemic could create havoc with their scheduling once again, is proposing the return of seven-inning doubleheaders and extra-inning games beginning with a runner on second base, two persons with knowledge of their discussions told USA TODAY Sports.

            The persons were unauthorized to publicly discuss MLB’s plan because of the on-going negotiations with the Major League Baseball Players Association, which must approve the rule changes.

            Yet, the rules that were implemented for the first time in 2020 during the 60-game shortened season, designed primarily to limit the length of games during the pandemic, were widely embraced by the players, with MLB managers advocating for the rules to return.

            “Change is abundant now,’’ Oakland A’s manager Bob Melvin said last month, “in every walk of life. And if you don’t embrace it, you get stuck in the mud.’’

            While the union is expected to approve the rule changes for the 2021 season, the two sides still have not determined whether there will be a universal DH or an expanded postseason with the rosters remaining at 26 players.

            MLB has proposed implementing a universal DH in exchange for an expanded postseason -- which would generate additional revenue with the extra round of playoffs televised by ESPN -- but the two sides have been at a stalemate.

            Most baseball executives still believe there will be a universal DH this season, but unless the union approves an expanded playoff field, it may not happen. MLB is seeking a 14-team playoff field -- two fewer teams than a year ago but four more than their format since 2012.

            Players and agents surveyed in the past week have made it abundantly clear they want a universal DH. They believe they’ll have the DH in both leagues, anyways, with a new collective bargaining agreement starting in 2022, so why not have it now, particularly since pitchers haven’t lifted a bat in a year?

            “I always think the DH creates more opportunity for guys to get jobs,’’ outfielder Kevin Pillar said. “I think the DH makes the game a little more exciting. I know there are traditionalists who like the strategy, taking out a pitcher in a double-switch, and when to take your pitcher out.

            “But it sure feels like pitching is so dominant now that if you can add an extra guy to the lineup, why not?’’


            The truth is that most general managers and executives feel the same way, and even in NL traditional cities like St. Louis and Cincinnati, the DH met little opposition.

            “Both from a Mets standpoint and from a general baseball standpoint,’’ Mets president Sandy Alderson recently said in a conference call, “having a DH in the National League is a good thing. The fact is, pitchers can’t even bunt anymore. So I’m in favor of putting a hitter in that additional slot. ultimately it makes the game more exciting. More offense, or more opportunity for offense, a bigger challenge for the pitchers.

            “I just think for the overall quality of the game, the excitement level of the DH is the right thing in the National League.”


            Teams also are heavily in favor of expanded playoffs, with a record 16 teams reaching the playoffs last year instead of 10, eliminating the one-game, winner-take-all game with a best-of-three first round.

            Most agents and players also embraced the concept, although the sentiment is hardly unanimous.

            “I think the baseball playoffs last year were extremely exciting,’’ Pillar said. “It was fun seeing baseball on from 9 a.m. to night time. It was really exciting. I think it made some of the (division) races exciting, even in a short season.

            "I think if you allow more teams a chance to get into the playoffs, you’re going to find more teams being competitive, and hopefully going out and acquiring players and spending more money on players. There are certain teams right now with the regular format knowing they’re not top four- or five-team in their league, and feel they’re too far away to try.

            “But the more teams that you give an opportunity to make the playoffs, it gives teams more incentive to go out and try to win. That’s what this league needs: to have more teams trying to be competitive and trying to win.’’


            Yet, if there are too many teams entering the playoffs, Dodgers starter David Price says, it could reduce team spending. Why spend an extra $20 million on a free agent if you’re going to make the playoffs, anyway?

            “I don’t really like it,’’ Price said. “I don’t think it expands spending at all. I think it goes the opposite way.’’

            Dodgers teammate Cody Bellinger says he thoroughly enjoyed the expanded postseason last year, but, of course, was biased by the final outcome.

            “I think it helps everyone, but I mean, we won it all,’’ Bellinger said, “so that made it pretty enjoyable.’’

            MLB is seeking a 14-team playoff pool that provides the team with the best record in each league a first-round bye. Last year, with 16 teams, the only advantage to winning the division was playing the best-of-three at home. The team with the league’s best record simply played the lowest seed.

            Veteran agent Scott Boras says he is in favor of expanding the postseason, even keeping it at 16 teams for fear that if a team is rewarded with a first-round bye, the layoff may prove to be detriment.

            Drew's Sig

            Comment


            • #7
              This article at least makes it sound like the 2021 DH is all but inevitable... which would be really helpful for the Mets as we all know. Insane that they are waiting for near February (weeks before pitchers and catchers) to make the call. Is the uncertainty slowing the FA market? Who knows...

              Comment


              • #8
                MLBPA Rejects MLB’s 154-Game Proposal


                by Connor Byrne
                1 Feb 2021, 8:48 PM CDT

                Major League Baseball proposed a 154-game regular season for 2021 to the MLBPA over the weekend, but the union announced that it has rejected the offer.

                More to come.



                Drew's Sig

                Comment


                • #10
                  So do we think this means no DH in 2021? Or just posturing from both sides?

                  I'll be honest, I don't see the player union's angle here.
                  • They are getting 162 game salary for 154 games.
                  • They are getting 162 paydays in 147 days due to the double header (unless playing 2 shortened games in 1 day is harder than I imagine).
                  • They are getting 15 more highly paid player opportunities added in the NL
                  • They are pushing 1 month closer to personal vaccine.
                  • They are pushing 1 month closer to having fans in the stands.

                  In exchange:
                  • 4 teams will have to play 2 extra playoff games (which nets to a 6 fewer games overall).
                  • 4 teams will have to play 3 extra playoff games (which nets to 5 fewer games overall)
                  • 22 teams will play 0 extra playoff games (which nets to 8 fewer games overall).

                  And then further, this puts the players in a strong negotiating stance for next season where the MLB will NEED to cave somewhat or risk losing what fans have become accustomed to. So unless they feel their leg is strongest now (which I'm not sure it is) it then sounds like a win win win for the players.

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Originally posted by NY FANG View Post
                    So do we think this means no DH in 2021? Or just posturing from both sides?

                    I'll be honest, I don't see the player union's angle here.
                    • They are getting 162 game salary for 154 games.
                    • They are getting 162 paydays in 147 days due to the double header (unless playing 2 shortened games in 1 day is harder than I imagine).
                    • They are getting 15 more highly paid player opportunities added in the NL
                    • They are pushing 1 month closer to personal vaccine.
                    • They are pushing 1 month closer to having fans in the stands.

                    In exchange:
                    • 4 teams will have to play 2 extra playoff games (which nets to a 6 fewer games overall).
                    • 4 teams will have to play 3 extra playoff games (which nets to 5 fewer games overall)
                    • 22 teams will play 0 extra playoff games (which nets to 8 fewer games overall).

                    And then further, this puts the players in a strong negotiating stance for next season where the MLB will NEED to cave somewhat or risk losing what fans have become accustomed to. So unless they feel their leg is strongest now (which I'm not sure it is) it then sounds like a win win win for the players.
                    This is from an MLB TradeRumors chat to give you some perspective:

                    Steve Adams 3:12
                    Because expanded playoffs is a mammoth win for ownership that would generate them hundreds of millions of dollars. The league's offer was basically: "How about we pay you what you're going to make with or without a deal, and you give up your top bargaining chip to us in exchange for a universal DH (which, by the way, is something we also really want).
                    "with or without a *new* deal," I should say.

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      That Steve Adams seems like a smart guy, but does the 1 extra playoff series really gain them hundreds of millions of dollars? Seems like hyperbole once you factor in the loss of TV rights and presumably gate/concession sales to 2 wildcard games, 120 games regular season games (30 teams, 8 games) and 105 more game days from double headers?

                      I mean obviously there is a financial gain to be had by owners, otherwise they wouldn't be making the offer, but hundreds of millions of ADDITIONAL revenue seems far fetched

                      <This is purely my gut speaking. I have ZERO financials in front of me to defend this post>

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        Yeah, I agree, FANG, while I don't have hard numbers to quote, it doesn't pass the smell test.

                        But, he does make great points otherwise...

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          Click image for larger version  Name:	1 mlbplayoffbracket 2019.jfif Views:	0 Size:	136.5 KB ID:	13825

                          Click image for larger version  Name:	1 mlbplayoffbracket.JPG Views:	0 Size:	76.7 KB ID:	13826
                          maybe the above visual will help. The wild card series went from a one-game series in each league for a total of 2 games in 2019 to four best of three-game series in each league in 2020 for a minimum of 16 games to a possible max of 24 games. I would think that TV revenue and royalties on t-shirts sales etc an additional $100M seems possible to me

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                          • #15
                            didn't need the visual You're pitting 16-24 playoff games against the sum of 120 regular season games, and 105 shorter/less valuable double headers and arguing the gains are 100s of millions.

                            I agree playoff games are worth more (national market after all), but how much more?

                            Sportico estimates that amount at about 100MM dollars, half of which goes to paying the players for playoff prize money. But that doesn't take into account the lost revenue outlined above.

                            Despite a lot of fits and starts, MLB has finally arrived at this destination: the big revenue pot at the end of the rainbow of a season played without fans and shortened from 162 games in the time of the coronavirus. MLB receives most of its $1.7 billion in national television revenue during the postseason; expanding the playoffs from the usual 43 games to 65 games will result in an increase of about $100 million, or about $4.5 million a game. ESPN/ABC has signed on to air all the games in seven of the eight Wild Card Series, with TBS broadcasting the other.

                            https://www.sportico.com/leagues/bas...ue-1234613746/
                            More is more - don't get me wrong - but as I said, "hundreds of millions of dollars" seemed like hyperbole to me.

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