There were several signs of promise today surrounding the prospects for any 2020 campaign. This does not mean that a clear plan is in place. Far from it, actually. But it seems that paths are opening up.
Jeff Passan of ESPN.com discussed the situation at length, noting that “almost everyone on the decision-making continuum … has become more and more optimistic” to organize a season of sorts. It seems to be a pretty big general feeling, although we’re still a few steps away from the hope of turning into real live ball games.
Passan covers a lot of subjects in the play, which is worth reading. Don’t expect a new direction when it comes to how everything is supposed to come together. It has not been reduced at all.
To some extent, the increased options that justify optimism also make it difficult to know what the 2020 season will look like. National and local authorities will ultimately have the final say on what is possible. There is also good news about this.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said today he sees a path to baseball being played in New York this summer, as reported by the Associated Press (via WTOP News). Of course, for the moment, spectators are not expected to be close at hand, but seeing matches in Queens and the Bronx would nevertheless be an inspiring sight given the brutal assessment of the coronavirus in the largest city of the country.
It’s about the same situation in Chicago, home to another pair of MLB franchises, as Vinnie Duber of NBC Sports Chicago writes. Mayor Lori Lightfoot says the city has considered the return of professional sports. Although that didn’t happen at all, she had a generally optimistic tone: “But can I imagine a world where baseball could return to Chicago this summer? Yes. Is he likely to be fanless? Probably. “
Even if the logistics are aligned, there is always the question of putting the league and the players on the same wavelength. The parties drafted and signed a formal agreement, but immediately disagreed on what it means for player wages if the matches are played without fans. The union says the end-March agreement states that players must be paid prorated for all games, regardless of whether someone paid to sit in the stands.
Passan provides specific language related to the assessment of this topic. Unfortunately, the clauses cited apparently confirm a certain ambiguity in the contract on this point. As we have explored recently, it is strange to see a new layer of unnecessary complication in this strangely framed document, the interpretation of which could now become a major problem relating to the ability to resume play and working relationships more generally .