Tempers have flared around Major League Baseball in recent days as the owners and players’ union continue to work towards an agreement to jumpstart the 2020 season.
It has been two months since the last organized, professional team-based sporting event in North America due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, as the world progresses towards a state of normalcy, MLB is working on a plan to get baseball back up and running around the Fourth of July.
Right now, the owners and players’ union are negotiating terms to start the season, but one critical hold up is the topic of player compensation.
Since the season will be shortened and games played in empty stadiums, owners are seeking to enact a 50-50 revenue spilt for the 2020 season, which would require players to take pay cuts.
Naturally, players have been opposed to the idea of playing for less money, especially Tampa Bay Rays ace Blake Snell.
“Y’all gotta understand man, for me to go, for me to take a pay cut is not happening, because the risk is through the roof, it’s a shorter season, less pay,” Snell said during his Twitch broadcast Thursday via Fox News.
Snell’s comments captured the attention of the national media and irked many people in society that have been forced to take a reduced salary, or have lost their job due to the pandemic.
Public pressure is now on the union to agree to a deal. The public is supporting the owners because people feel professional athletes are already overcompensated, and players in the NBA and NHL have taken similar pay cuts without issue.
For better or worse, the media spotlight is on baseball right now, and the recent uproar has forced baseball’s brightest stars to speak about the state of the game, including Colorado Rockies All-Star Nolan Arenado.
“I think he was being honest, just being real,” Arenado said of Snell’s comments via Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. “He made a lot of good points. There are some points he made that were true, that are facts.”
Arenado defended his fellow ballplayer, as he should being he is one of the league’s premier players.
At the same token, Arenado spoke on the situation in a more emphatic way, understanding where baseball fans’ frustration stems.
“I guarantee if you read the comments, you’re probably thinking, ‘You don’t have to work 12 hours a day. You’re not the one without a job. You’re still getting paid,’” Arenado said. “Those people have a right to say that.”
Regardless of what has been said, nobody really knows how the situation will play out. There’s a chance a second wave of the virus hits and plans go out the window, again. The reality of the situation is there will need to compromise on both sides if the sports wants to return for the summer.
The recent media leaks about the ongoing negotiation shave disgruntled many players, and Arenado pointed out how negotiations should stay in-house, as a sign of good faith by both sides.
At the end of the day, all anybody really wants is for baseball to come back in a safe way. Ballplayers are chomping at the bit to get on the field, including Arenado’s teammate Charlie Blackmon who went as far as to say the country needs baseball to help bring a sense of normalcy back to the country.
The overarching concern with a return is the safety of those playing in the games and working at the stadium. Once the safety of all those involved in gameday operations can be guaranteed, Arenado thinks the game will return.
“The public should know that we want to play baseball,” Arenado said. “As long it’s right, as long as it’s fair, we want to be out there. We want to go play.”