The executive director of the players’ union had some harsh words for the commissioner.
Remember when Major League Baseball was far ahead of the NBA and the NHL in terms of negotiating a plan to play real, live games despite the stern challenges of the coronavirus pandemic? Well, all that momentum has not just skidded to a halt; it’s derailed and tumbled into a deep ravine.
In the span of mere days, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred went from insisting that the 2020 season will absolutely happen to doubting whether that was true at all.
And in response, MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark went off.
MLBPA boss Tony Clark accused Rob Manfred and MLB owners of negotiating with players in bad faith as 2020 season falls increasingly into doubt
There is just so, so much pointed, heated language in this statement, and reflects that this already-wayward process is dangerously close to critical mass. “He has decided to go back on his word … Another bad faith tactic … The players are disgusted.”
At this point, what can be done to ameliorate this situation? The trust isn’t there anymore (hell, that ship might have sailed weeks ago). Who is the mediator that can save these talks, which have been absolutely venomous on the topics of the length of the season and player pay concessions alike? Who could possibly take the lead in forging a consensus?
Tony Clark made it clear that the players are through sacrificing additional salary, especially given that they’re the ones assuming the bulk of the COVID-19 risk if and when games can take place. At this point, it’s hard to imagine that they’ll show up even if Manfred and Co. pull the trigger on their nuclear option, a 50-game season.
And with all this in mind, it’s equally hard to imagine that Manfred and the league’s owners even legitimately love the game of baseball anymore.