MLB News and Notes: Owners Make Pitch to Players’ Association

In a perfect world, we’d be two months into the MLB season by now and would have just enjoyed a Memorial Day full of baseball. As we know, this is far from a perfect world, and we are still awaiting the start of baseball season. Fortunately, the wheels are in motion to play baseball in 2020, so let’s catch up on the latest.

Today’s the Day

After much speculation and unofficial reports, Tuesday is the day that MLB owners make their official pitch to the Players’ Association about financial details for the 2020 season. The idea that’s been reported involved a revenue-sharing plan between the owners and players, but there is little chance the players go along with that. More recent reports suggest that the owners will be willing to compromise on that idea.

In March, the players agreed to receive a prorated salary based on the number of games played this season. The union isn’t likely to let the owners off the hook, but they now seem open to an agreement that involves deferred money, so owners won’t have to pay full salaries in 2020 but will ultimately pay that money in the years to come.

On the surface, the owners and players are far apart regarding finances for the 2020 season. There is also an unofficial deadline of June 1 to reach an agreement so that the second round of spring training can begin in time to start playing regular-season games in early July. However, both sides appear to understand the potential long-term consequences of a financial disagreement preventing the season from being played.

Open for Business

Over the weekend, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that pro sports facilities can open up for training, a decision that will allow the Mets and Yankees to hold spring training 2.0 in their home stadiums. The New York City area has been hit harder than almost any other part of the country by the pandemic. But with New York past the worst of it, Cuomo is hoping to get sports back in New York, albeit without fans in attendance, to begin a return to normalcy.

Not This Season

One player who won’t be playing in 2020 no matter what is former Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang. After multiple arrests for drunk driving, Kang has been suspended by the Korean Baseball Organization for a full year.

Kang spent four seasons with the Pirates but missed the 2017 season because he couldn’t get a visa to return to the US after his third DUI arrest in Korea the previous winter. Kang applied for reinstatement to the KBO last week, and his former team still owns his rights. However, he’ll have to wait until 2021 to play baseball.

New Business Model

Minor league stadiums aren’t likely to see baseball this year, but the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, Minnesota’s AA affiliate, are finding a new use for their stadium. The team has listed their stadium on Airbnb for $1,500 a night.

For that price, up to ten people can spend a night in the ballpark, gaining access to the clubhouse, field, and batting cages. There are ten beds and three bathrooms in the clubhouse. It will be interesting to see if other minor league stadiums follow with unique ideas for generating revenue with the minors shut down.

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