“The reality is that we are not going to play more than 60 games, regardless of the outcome of negotiations with the players. ”
This comment is notable because the players’ union should file a grievance against the owners for not having negotiated in good faith when the two parties tried to reach an agreement on a season. Negotiations began in mid-May and players have pushed repeatedly for a longer season, but the owners have never agreed to pay players prorated wages for any season over 60 games. Manfred ended up imposing a season without the two parties reaching a new agreement.
To say that the season was going to be 60 games regardless of the bargaining process seems to be something the MLBPA will point out in any bad faith grievance. Manfred tried to come back to the comments on Thursday and said he was referring to the fact that the season could not have started earlier due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Here’s what Manfred said to USA Today:
“If we had started an 82 game season [beginning July 1], we would have had people in Arizona and Florida by the time the second peak hit, “said Manfred.
“… I meant that no matter what happened with the union, how it went with the second peak. We would have finished with only time for 60 games, anyway. Over time, it became the course of the virus going to dictate how many games we could play. ”
Manfred added that he thought the MLB would be “lucky” to play its full 60-game season after COVID-19 cases peaked across the country in recent weeks.
“We just weren’t going to be able to play more than 60 games at this point,” he added. “With everything being closed. The reality is that we will be lucky if we get 60 games now given the course of the virus. ”
Manfred and the owners were worried about a possible grievance before he even set up a schedule, so it’s not surprising that he tried to clarify his remarks.
However, to see Manfred say that he will be “lucky” to get the 60 games is a bit discordant. The idea of an opening and closing season before seeing a world series seems to be a possibility in his mind.