The MLB Owners will meet with the MLB Player’s Association today to review the first return to play proposal that all owners have already approved. The result of this meeting will give us a better idea on when the MLB Season Opening Day will be if there is one at all. Here are the key points from the first proposal:
50/50 split of revenue between owners and players
82 game season
Spring Training to start in June
Opening Day early July
Use of home stadiums where allowed – No fans at games
Geographic Based Schedules
14 team postseason
50/50 split of revenue:
This is going to be the biggest hurdle. The players aren’t going to want to take a lower salary and this is going to be the one thing that could inevitably cause the 2020 MLB season to be cancelled. I can see the arguments for both sides here. The owners will say that the players are playing less games so they should be willing to take less money. The players are going to go to battle in these negotiations to continue to demand more money. They will be the ones putting themselves at risk and should absolutely be compensated for that. However, they should be looking at the reality that having no fans at games will be costing the owners millions of dollars. The estimate of revenue lost from having fans at games in 2020 can be seen at Forbes.com.
The Yankees are at the top of the list and the dollar figure is $470,000,000. Looking through the list, you can see what the owners will be missing out on. I just hope the players see the bigger picture during these negotiations. It’s not a good look for guys who are playing the game that they love and getting paid comfortably to want more. There is a global pandemic and some people out there are struggling to get by after losing their jobs. These players going out and playing ball games for less money for one season out of their careers isn’t going to cause them to go broke.
82 Game Season:
This proposal has Opening Day scheduled for early July. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate America’s past time than Opening Day happening on July 4th weekend. The standard MLB season has always been 162 games so this is roughly half of the season. That’s another thing the players need to consider in their 50/50 revenue split negotiations. This is the best case scenario for getting as many games played as possible. Northern teams will start getting lower temps if you extend much past October. Old timers will be upset with this change because it will open the door for shortening the season in the future when the world goes back to normal. This has been discussed in the past. The reason this upsets old timers and should upset younger fans is because shortening the season would completely eliminate the ability to compare stats of players playing in a shorter season than the standard 162 game season. Statistics are a major part of MLB history so I would hope that the league would go back to the standard 162 game season next year.
Use of Home Stadiums – No Fans
Teams will play in their home stadiums where local governments will allow it and there will be no fans at the games. This should be appealing to the players because they can play in their home ballparks and be close to their families. Most MLB players have multiple houses anyway but this is still a benefit. No fans at the games will keep the players safe from coming into contact with fans. The UFC event that took place over the weekend is a solid blueprint for MLB and other major sports leagues to return to action. Each participant that will be part of each event will be tested to ensure that everyone is safe.
Geographic Based Schedules:
The schedule will be created based off of geographic location to avoid creating extra travel for the players. So the AL East will play their division opponents and NL East opponents, AL Central and NL Central. There are more details to come on this but you won’t be seeing the Red Sox play against the Dodgers in the regular season anyway. This is another safety measure to ensure the players aren’t traveling more than they need to. Although I do wonder if they are proposing travel by bus which would definitely be a step back from what the players are accustomed to for travel.
Due to the restructured schedules, MLB would institute the universal DH rule so pitchers wouldn’t be hitting. I think everyone wins with this rule change and it’s something that has been discussed in the past so it would let us all see how it works out. I think most fans will be happy with this because the games will be more entertaining. We want to see guys up at the plate hacking, not pitchers laying down bunts to move the runner over.
14 team Postseason:
The postseason would be expanded from 12 teams to 14 teams. I guess the thought process here is that the season is shorter so some of those matchups with teams on the border of getting in wouldn’t be played so it makes sense to expand. I love it. The more playoff baseball we can get, the better. I think all of the players are on board with this too because it gives teams hope to get in. Once you’re in, anything can happen.
The initial proposal is in place and both sides are meeting to review as this article is being written. It will be interesting to see how things unfold but I do think there will be some hard negotiations on the revenue split and salaries. Although, I think the players need to be more cautious in these negotiations than the owners. The good news is that there is hope for a 2020 MLB season but we are still just under two months away from the best case scenario start date. We need baseball back and we need betting back.