Red Sox News: Dennis Eckersley believes MLB can’t afford to miss 2020

COOPERSTOWN, NY - JULY 24: Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley is introduced at Clark Sports Center during the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony on July 24, 2016 in Cooperstown, New York. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
COOPERSTOWN, NY - JULY 24: Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley is introduced at Clark Sports Center during the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony on July 24, 2016 in Cooperstown, New York. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

Red Sox legend Dennis Eckersley believes MLB can’t miss 2020

It’s officially June and we still haven’t seen a single pitch of actual baseball in 2020. Just as things were getting good in spring training, the coronavirus stopped the world. It’s been a long time since I’ve gone this long without seeing the Red Sox take the field at Fenway Park, and I do not like it.

As it stands, neither side seems too willing to give in to the other. Both the MLB and MLBPA have offered up proposals that the other side has declined. The players want more games which would then allow them to earn more of their salaries, while the owners want fewer games so they can keep more money.

I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I won’t be siding with the owners anytime soon, and I understand the argument of folks that think athletes are overpaid, though I highly disagree. Unfortunately for most of us, we’re replaceable in our occupations. Maybe not easily, but it’s a strong possibility.

For athletes, they’re literally the best of the best. There aren’t many folks out there that can toss 100MPH and control it, so they’re more than earned what the contract says.

Well, that’s enough of me on the old soapbox, ya’ll didn’t come here to hear me preach. Let’s get to the real reason we’re here, Dennis Eckersley! The former Red Sox hurler and current NESN commentator has been very vocal, as is his nature and is continuing to speak on the current labor dispute.

Red Sox legends Pedro Martinez and Dennis Eckersley speak on dispute

Earlier today we heard from Red Sox legend Pedro Martinez on the matter and he’s ready to see some baseball in 2020. Eckersley isn’t far behind his fellow righty but he takes a different angle than Pedro. Martinez spoke in the aspect of giving people something to try and take their minds off of the stresses in the world.

Eck was a guest on “NESN After Hours” and he once again spoke on the labor dispute but took a more baseball centric angle with his comments.

"“It’s going to happen,” Eckersley said on ‘NESN After Hours.’ “To me, it’s a no-brainer. They know they cannot not play baseball. You cannot go dark for 16-18 months. And they all know it. And all the reporters have written about it. If you don’t want to drive baseball off the cliff, and they’re not going to. And so I’m all for it. They’re going to play.”"

Once again, the man isn’t wrong. Throughout this whole ordeal Eckersley has been not only vocal but blunt with his thoughts on the matter. Before he’s spoken about things from the mindsets of players and owners, today it was about the sport.

It’s no secret that baseball lags far behind the other major sports in the US as far as fan engagement. Yeah, plenty of stadiums remain sold out during the season but when you look at the demographics in the stands, they aren’t trending younger.

Baseball is like a game of chess, it can be slow and prodding while also scientific in every move. Unfortunately, when the rest of the “Major Four,” can be like a monster truck show, the attention span is lost. Many will complain about the length of games when a football game will take just as long, it’s simply more exciting.

Eckersley hits the nail square on the head with his comments about skipping the season. If a deal can’t be struck and we don’t see the MLB in 2020, many may not return come 2021. This sport is a labor of love not only for this involved but for the fans as well. Night in and night out we all convene to watch the boys of summer, but that could change if the season is canceled.

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There’ve been some whispers that there are owners out there that are perfectly fine with canceling the 2020 campaign. Yeah, that’s great in the short term as they’ll be able to keep some coin in their pockets, but what about the long-term? You’re a league that is having enough trouble retaining fans as well as gaining new ones, so you’re just going to shut it down? Seems pretty foolish to me, but the veteran pitcher is confident a deal will be reached.

"“The players want 114 games and the clubs want 50 or 60, they just came out with,” Eckersley said. “So to me, you’re going to split the difference. You get to 82. … As long as they come to an agreement by the end of the week, I think they can get this done.”"

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Until the two sides can meet in the middle we won’t be seeing any baseball this summer. I’m in the same boat as Eck in that I feel that we’ll be seeing the Red Sox play in 2020. It’s going to take some serious negotiating and compromise but I have faith in the owners and players. If push comes to shove, I’m sure Eck could mediate one heck of a deal!