The Boston Red Sox front office is hopeful that the MLB and MLBPA can come to terms on a labor agreement that will see the 2020 season begin soon.
We’re about to head into Memorial Day weekend and it’s still unclear whether or not the standstill between the MLB and MLBPA is close ending. Neither side seems willing to budge on their key points and in the end, the big losers in the mess are the fans. It’s bad enough that we won’t be able to attend games in person, but to not have any games at all is just plunging the knife deeper. Red Sox president Sam Kennedy and CBO Chaim Bloom are optimistic that a resolution is close on the horizon.
Both Boston execs were guests on NESN’s “At Home with TC,” this week and each gave off a sense of positivity in regards to the dispute. We’ve heard from players recently as the discussions continue, and most recently from Red Sox lefty Chris Sale.
The southpaw pointed his focus directly towards safety is the key component that had to be addressed. His belief was built that once the safety concerns are met and only then, can the two sides begin to talk about money.
Bloom echoed a similar sentiment to Sale in that he believes the only way we’ll see the MLB in 2020 is if it’s done in the absolute safest way possible.
“No. 1, this needs to be a safe environment,” Bloom said. “It needs to be safe in order to play. I have confidence it will be. There are certain things everybody in the league needs to agree on and that we need to agree on with the players association in order for that to happen.”
I’m with Bloom and Sale that safety needs to be addressed before anything else. It’s not just the players that the league needs to worry about. It’s all of the personnel that will be needed for the teams to function and their families that will be in contact with them. We’re not doing simple addition here folks, we’re gonna need a graphing calculator to solve this one.
Kennedy also harped on safety and was able to give a little bit of insight, or at least what he can offer, into the negotiations since the Red Sox are heavily involved. Principal owner John Henry is one of the owners working on the side of the league to build their end of the proposal for 2020. Much like his pitching ace, Kennedy knows that money shouldn’t be the primary focus but understands that it’s a massive hurdle for both sides.
“This is hard and no one wants to hear about money and negotiations during this pandemic,” Kennedy said. “I know there has been some public commentary. Hopefully, that can subside and the leaders in Major League Baseball and within the union will work together to come to an arrangement that’s fair for everybody.”
I honestly don’t know what the right answer is going to be for this thing to get finished with any good amount of time left in the summer. As each day passes we’re getting farther and farther away from seeing our beloved Red Sox take the field in 2020. Beyond the money, there are also complaints from the players about the inability to do rituals they’ve been accustomed to since childhood. Things like sunflower seeds, high-fives, food at the park, and even pools/saunas will be forbidden under the MLB’s proposal.
When I read through it shortly after it was submitted my brain began to hurt. Not due to flashy legal speak or it’s length, but for what it contained. For as much as we know about the coronavirus we still know so little. To some degree, I understand that the spitting of sunflowers seeds and high-fiving go against all health expert guidelines, but those things are automatic for these guys at this point.
Are you going to fine someone if they have a bout of muscle memory and high-five a teammate after a homer? It just isn’t something that can be policed to any degree.
With that said, the MLB wasn’t totally ridiculous in their proposal it’s just a matter of finding that happy middle ground. The league went full on caution mode while the players were hoping for a little bit of wiggle room. If the two sides can find that grey area and get away from the black and white of the matter, then we may have a chance at a season. I for one hope a resolution is on the horizon, I can’t imagine a summer without seeing the Red Sox at Fenway Park.