The owners have given the players until Wednesday to decide if there will be a 2020 season. Feels like we have heard this before.
For Detroit Tigers fans, Wednesday is a big day. Not only do Tigers fans enjoy the attention that comes with having the first pick overall but all of us will find out if there will be a season or not. First, Karl Ravich of ESPN dropped the latest proposal update.
Detroit Tigers fans may of breathe a sigh of relief as when this whole entire back and forth would end when Jeff Passan of ESPN tweeted out that players were asked to respond by Wednesday,according to sources. However, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that the players considered the MLB’s latest offer a “step backwards”. They guaranteed 50% pay with the possibility of earning a 75% prorated salary.
So, the original proposal by the owners was 82 games, players, in turn, would get $1.03 billion in salary and $200 million if the playoffs happen. The 48-game option was $1.03 billion in salary and no playoff money and today’s proposal would be 76 games, players would receive $989 million in salary and $443 million if playoffs are played, plus no direct draft-pick compensation. (draft picks that are gained when a high-value player signs elsewhere)
Detroit Tigers fans and all baseball fans across all levels are losing their patience
For Detroit Tigers fans, they know this season would be a long one as the team continues to rebuild. But let’s face it, right now, baseball is probably the furthest thing from our minds at the moment. From the protests across the world to the physical, financial, and mental toll that the COVID-19 virus has done to everyone, the world is in a strange place.
I can speak for a few of us that wish baseball was back as a welcomed distraction because we enjoy the game and the ability to discuss it and watch it. The NBA and NHL have plans in place to start the season again and baseball fans get to watch the owners and players duke it out for percentages of what they are able to keep.
MLB has done a great job, PR wise, to beat the MLBPA to the punch on getting out the word on the latest proposals. On the flip side, MLB as a whole continues to take a hit in the public relations department for the handling of the minor league players. I am all in favor of players getting paid and to see the Oakland A’s and Washington Nationals do an about-face to pay their minor leaguers was great to see the players not have to stress out about funds.
Fans in minor league towns are frustrated and angry that they are in limbo that their team may not even exist in 2021. Also, think about this aspect. The average television viewer who watches Major League Baseball age is 57 years old according to Statista. They were in their early 30’s when the baseball strike happened in 1994. At this point, that fan who may of in the past gone to a minor league game, may not even go because there is no team in their town.
While that may sound a bit overdramatic, the attempts by the league recently to appeal to a younger audience could all be just giant wastes of time if they can’t agree to a 2020 season. Author Susan Jacoby, who wrote a book called “Why Baseball Matters”, did an article in Time Magazine, discussing why baseball was losing fans. A survey she conducted showed nearly two-thirds of people 18 to 35 do not follow baseball. Her research also concluded that :
“Young people are unlikely to care whether a game lasts two-and-a-half or three hours, when they are used to speedy action being literally one click away”
Jacoby made a statement in the article that stands out. If parents do not get their children into baseball, they more than likely will not show interest. Parents share their interests with their children and if their interest in baseball is destroyed again, what would be the incentive to go back to the well again?
Even if this COVID-19 situation never happen, the league was putting measures into place to put in a soft salary cap and slotting salaries for players being drafted. They even announce that team play by play folks will be calling games from a studio which short term makes sense but do not be surprised if they see the money savings, that could be a permanent thing. MLBPA and the owners have been heading for a showdown for a while. Let’s hope that pride steps aside and actually, you know, think about the public who are paying for the tickets to the games and buying the merch.