PHOENIX — The chances that a shortened MLB season is played this year seems about as likely as Sammy Sosa putting on 30 pounds of muscle when he arrived in Chicago because he finally removed a wisdom tooth that had been preventing him from eating his entire life.
Tensions between MLB Owners, Commissioner Rob Manfred, and MLB Players Association Executive Director Tony Clark seemed to have reached a fever pitch as of Thursday afternoon, after earlier this week Manfred and Clark had a closed door meeting to discuss the latest proposal from the owners to the players. The owners finally agreed to pay the players a prorated salary for a 60 game season, a concession that many thought would lead to a deal.
However, Clark countered that a deal was far from being done, as the prorated salaries to the players should have been non-negotiable, given their current contract structures. He and the players union are now pushing for a minimum of 70 games under the same salary and payment terms, citing the fact that they are the ones who incur all of the risk by playing any games at all.
Manfred, Philadelphia Phillies Managing Director John Middleton, and Boston Red Sox Owner John Henry held a Zoom press conference on Friday, clearly enraged.
“It is becoming increasingly clear that the players have absolutely zero empathy for the owners in this situation,” Middleton said. “They think that they’re the only ones shouldering any risk of playing this season, but do you know how much money we’re going to lose by playing these games in empty stadiums? 40 percent. That’s right, 40 percent of revenue lost just by playing baseball this year. That’s $132 million! Do you know how much that means to me? Well, practically nothing, I’m a billionaire,” he whispered while trying to wink at the one female reporter on the call, “but still, that’s about as close to Tommy John surgery as I’ll ever get.”
Embarrassed that they did not vet Middleton’s comments before the press conference, Henry jumped in saying, “Look, we believe the latest offer and concessions we made to the players were more than fair. But if Mr. Clark and the players are truly unsatisfied with our proposal, then it’s clear to me that they’re negotiating in bad faith. And if there’s one thing that my fellow owners and I know how to do, it’s operate in bad faith. So let’s play ball, Tony,” he said, staring into the camera and refusing to blink.
Shocked by this confession, Commissioner Manfred jumped in to detail the terms of their latest proposal to the MLBPA.
“We’re certainly disheartened by the fact that we have not arrived at a compromise with the players union yet, and that no baseball is being played. Believe me, no one wants to watch the stars of our storied game play while I sit back making money hand over fist more than I do. So, in the spirit of making money, I could not imagine a more fitting day than Juneteenth, a day that commemorates the abolishment of slavery in this great country, to officially announce that in our offer that we will be submitting to the players later today, we are proposing that they play this season for free. If they love this game so much and care about our fans, then this is their opportunity to prove it. This offer will also serve as a documented reminder, that as dangerous as they think this virus is, nothing is more dangerous than a group of rich white men not getting their way.”
The call abruptly ended, in a move that we thought was meant to add dramatic effect to the chilling reality of the statement the Commissioner just gave. But, apparently the MLB League Office has not paid for a Zoom Pro account and the meeting had reached its time limit. Commissioner Manfred apologized for ending the meeting so abruptly in a follow-up email, and used this as another example of the, “dire financial straits” the league is currently facing.