The Back-And Forth And Baseball Is On The Clock, by Rich Mancuso,The Ne York Extra/

                  Baseball is a marathon not a sprint   

 Every game has significance during a 162- game season and the game is a marathon. And with proposals going back and forth, with time ticking on the clock, the MLBPA and their players may be forced by owners and the league to play a sprint of 50 games instead of 162.

Remember, this is a game of streaks. On the mound, at the plate. Teams go through losing and winning streaks and games in April that are lost  come back to haunt them in September. 

And there would be expanded playoffs.  So where does this back-and-forth game of baseball politics stand with an abbreviated 2020 season in jeopardy?

This is not the 1990 lockout or  the 1994 strike that put the game in jeopardy, though economics this time is much more and seems to be the major stumbling block towards getting players back on the field.

Regardless, the perception of the game among fans is not good. COVID-19, a recession, and unemployment does not sit well with the public as billionaires and millionaires play their game of economics instead of  balls and strikes thrown and home runs hit.

And as other professional sports leagues begin their process of resuming,  the perception is not any better. The NBA, NHL, and  MLS, also with revenue at stake. will resume soon. Professional golf, horse racing, tennis have resumed on a limited basis with no fans and proper medical protocols.

Live boxing, with no fans and proper medical protocols resumed in Las Vegas Tuesday night. Top Rank and ESPN began a summer series in a closed venue that became a ratings bonanza and got the jump on other promotions.

But baseball remains idle with their annual amatuer draft as a highlight the next two nights that will be televised on ESPN and the MLB Network. We  await the latest review of the proposals from owners to the players.

The players to the owners. The back-and-forth and not coming face-to-face at the bargaining table as there are more significant issues facing this nation. But, as always, baseball could be the diversion.

Reportedly, the Major League Baseball Players Association presented a season of 89 games with a complete and prorated share of salary and expanded playoffs. They wanted 114 games. 

The owners want less. They say they are losing money. The players don’t want to be cut short.. Hey, you or I, even under the circumstances at hand, don’t  want our salaries curtailed.

But give or take, does it make a difference to a millionaire? Does a billionaire owner, with all types of insurance and a financial loss at hand, stand to go bankrupt? Probably not to you and I.

Medical protocols, yeah the game would be different. As stated here, players are creatures of habit. They are willing to go along with the adjustments of sanitizing, social distancing, COVID-19  testing, and temperature checks. 

They are willing to adjust at playing in ballparks with no fans, again a major revenue stream to the owners and players and that also factors into this economic equation that is more difficult to understand and different from the other sports leagues.

Then again, the NBA and NHL are resuming a brief schedule and driving full speed into a tournament type of playoff system, and you hear nothing about salary and that word prorated.

MLB players want to get back on the field. But to many, contacted by, if they are put in position to play 50 games, that’s a sprint and not a marathon.

To the players, the latest proposal does not add up. 

 “We’ve never been put up to a test like this,” said one player.  The test, if players are put in that 50-game position and refuse to play, the league and owners can’t  replace Mike Trout, Aaron Judge, Anthony Rendon. 

They are one of the many faces of baseball. 

Trout has been vocal about the medical protocols and concerns, though silent on the economic issue as their union does the talking. 

They look at economics. Many teams have terminated scouts and their development staffs have been cut back and eliminated.  They have been the backbone of the game for years as analytic departments have taken control and stayed on staff during the coronavirus pandemic. 

To show you how the game has changed, analytics over scouts. 

“They (owners) look at numbers more than talent,” said another player. Take that into account if you play less games.”

And then there is this factor again, put in a position of a 50-game season if two sides can’t come to an agreement that to some is close to fruition.

Owners used minor league players who broke picket lines in the past. Times were different with economics. Now, with the minor league system gone in 2020, there is no feeder system. 

And the players are concerned about service time, again a complicated breakdown due to different structures and free agency. There is a concern in regard to a 50-game season.

The sprint instead of a marathon? You can see more than one player on the injured list. Normal 162-game season and the comeback time can vary from two weeks, a month, maybe more time.

A significant amount of games are missed during a normal season with injuries to calves, hamstrings, arms. A season is over in all probability on the injured list with a 50-game schedule. They are looking at that factor and also a concern about a second wave of COVID-19 that could cause concern with isolation from families.

And a second wave of the virus, a concern that the revenue from a different postseason is lost.

In other words, baseball in 2020 is on the clock. You can side with the owners. You can side with the players. Regardless, we want to see baseball in some form.

If not, the game is in more trouble and leaves a lot of questions for 2021.

Comment:  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

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