FILE - In this April 24, 2013, file photo, Cleveland Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis stands on the Major League Baseball logo that serves as the on deck circle during the first inning of a baseball game between the Chicago White Sox and the Indians, in Chicago. Major League Baseball rejected the players' offer for a 114-game regular season in the pandemic-delayed season with no additional salary cuts and told the union it did not plan to make a counterproposal, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday, June 3, 2020, because no statements were authorized.(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

MLB Season Remains In Question

So far, the NBA found a way back. So far, the NHL found a way back. As for Major League Baseball–who knows?

The window of opportunity to get a season started is beginning to close.

This week, MLB owners rejected the MLBPA’s proposal of a 114-game season. This deal also included full-prorated salaries, the ability for players to opt of playing and spring training 2.0 compensation. The owners are now looking into a 50-game season at full-prorated salaries. The proposed number of games by each side alone indicates how far apart they are.

ESPN MLB insider Jeff Passan put a tweet out to show how negotiations have gone compared to other leagues.

The owners claim they want to have the season over before November because of fears of a second COVID-19 wave and competition from other sports. There’s a good chance the latter is the bigger reason. However, there is a fear a second wave could cancel the postseason. The player’s proposal factored this into the rejected proposal.

No matter the angle taken, the issue of money can be traced. The financial losses have led to some owners considering no season at all.

Is a 50-Game Season Legitimate?

The quick consensus answer is no. Passan used last season as an example of why a season can’t be that short. He referenced the World Series-champion Washington Nationals’s comeback as a reason. He also stated it takes at least 80-plus games to figure out which teams are for real, and too short a season delegitimizes accomplishments.

Regardless, the owners have the upper hand in making these decisions. Passan said that they could simply set a schedule that the players would be forced to play because of the collective bargaining agreement.

This move thought may not be smart, as it could be seen as a move in bad faith heading into negotiations for the next CBA in 2021. While it would be illegal to strike right now, these moves could lead to a strike.

The baseball world is running a huge risk. No season this year (let alone future stoppages) could greatly damage baseball’s reputation. If baseball isn’t there when the world needed them, the world will remember it.

About Harrison Smajovits

Harrison is a sports coordinator at ESPN 98.1 FM/850 AM WRUF. He served as a beat writer for Florida Gators football for the 2019 and 2020 seasons. He also contributes to WRUF's Gainesville Sports Center segments and makes appearances on the Clash on Harp on Sports. Harrison has been a content writer for WRUF since January 2019 as well.

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