As much as Rob Manfred wanted to delay the season, it appears he won’t be able to do so.
Manfred hoped to start the season in May, delaying Opening Day a month in hopes of getting more fans out to the ballpark for the first pitch of the campaign. This would mean a 150-game season, rather than the full 162 game slate. It was also clearly motivated by finances, as MLB owners have been losing money at a rapid rate without supporters at the ballpark.
To suggest owners are struggling would be a falsehood, but these billionaires didn’t get in their position with habits of unnecessary spending. They’d rather be assured to make a profit, and because Manfred by definition works for them, the commissioner fought for their cause.
The MLBPA wanted nothing of this, suggesting a return to normalcy instead.
Manfred admitted this week that a normal 162-game slate seems most realistic
Per Bob Nightengale of USA Today, “MLB does not have the legal right to unilaterally delay the start of the season without approval from the union because of the collective bargaining agreement, and the union made it clear it wouldn’t accept anything less than 100% pay for the season.”
So, while Manfred attempted to make his case, it was not a successful one. The players don’t want to deal with any sort of prorated salary argument, and rightfully so. Labor disputes are SO 2020, and with the potential to return to some level of normalcy this year thanks to a COVID-19 vaccine, a delay doesn’t make a lot of sense from the players’ perspective.
If does, however, mean another year of MLB owners crying poor while their minor league affiliates and employees struggle. At the very least, we can celebrate pitchers and catchers reporting in February, as they should be.