Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 24 hours, you know that the 30 MLB owners unanimously approved a plan to start the 2020 regular season in July. There is all sorts of stuff laid out about testing, expanded rosters, expanded playoffs, DH, etc. that are important to getting the players comfortable with taking the field again. That’s all well and good because we want baseball, but Yankee fans should hate this proposal.
MLB owners approve 50% revenue-sharing plan amid coronavirus pandemic with 82-game schedule, 14 playoff teams and a universal DH. They will begin negotiations Tuesday with the players union. https://t.co/BFDZOv3oyw
As Bob Nightengale reported, the owners want the players to take a pay cut. The players have already agreed to a prorated salary for games played in the 2020 season, but now with no fans in attendance, the owners want another pay cut. This is a nonstarter for the MLBPA, but it also should be a nonstarter for Yankee fans.
If the players were to accept this proposal to have their salary tied to the revenue that teams see, they are playing under a salary cap. With a salary cap in place, the Yankees would be handcuffed in the free agency market, and we as fans would hate it. One of the best parts of being a Yankee fan is that our owners spend on the team rather than lining their own pockets like many other owners do. I’m not ready to let that go.
Now some of you are thinking, “I don’t feel bad for millionaires, I just want baseball on TV.” I’m not saying you should feel bad for millionaires (as our unemployment rate hits record high levels). However, we’re talking about billionaires that are trying to get out of a contract and not pay their employees an agreed upon rate. After all the tax dollars these teams have received to build stadiums, they should just eat whatever losses come in 2020 as a “bad business break.” Just like millions of other businesses are being asked to.
With the CBA expiring at the end of next season, accepting a salary cap for this season would open the door for it being included in future negotiations. That is why the league leaked their approval of a plan yesterday. Right now all the headlines say “MLB Owners Approve Plan” to gain leverage and fan support for when the players reject the plan.
For fans, this is very much about this year. We’ve been stuck in the house for months. We don’t know when this will fully end. Many of us have lost loved ones. But for players, this could hurt them financially for decades, while putting themselves at risk this year.
Bear with me, but it feels like we've zoomed past the most important aspect of any MLB restart plan: health protections for players, families, staff, stadium workers and the workforce it would require to resume a season. Here are some things I'll be looking for in the proposal…