BOSTON (CBS) — Major League Baseball is a hot mess right now, with owners and players continuing their endless bickering match over a return to play. The 2020 season is in serious jeopardy after MLB commissioner Rob Manfred cast loads of doubt that baseball will be played anytime soon on Monday night.
That’s a bit different than the tune Manfred was singing just last week, when he threw out a 100 percent guarantee that there would be baseball in the near future. That 100 percent didn’t leave much wiggle room should something have gone wrong, and as of right now, it appears something has gone terribly wrong. That something, according to MLB players, is owners wanting an extremely shortened 2020 season.
As other commissioners in the world of sports discussed their return-to-play plans on ESPN Monday evening, there was Manfred, doing his best Bud Selig shrug when it came to the status of his sport.
“I’m not confident,” said Manfred. “I think there’s real risk [of no 2020 MLB season]. And as long as there’s no dialogue, that real risk is gonna continue.”
While owners appear set to shelve comeback talks, players are determined to play ball. They’ve now twice told Manfred and owners to set a return date, which neither appear eager to do. That has created even more frustration for players, and led to quite a few of them to lash out on social media Monday night.
No one has been more outspoken than Trevor Bauer, which is really no surprise. Bauer always has something to say about anything, especially when it comes to ripping the commissioner and other decisions made by Major League Baseball. The Reds righty fired off eight tweets attacking Manfred, saying the commish is using delay tactics to cut the season down as few games as possible — which is what the owners want.
Here’s what those Tweets said without the thinking face emojis, which made a few appearances to really hammer home Bauer’s message:
So, Rob, explain to us how you can be 100% sure that there’s going to be baseball but not confident there will be baseball at the same time? hmmm. What changed between those statements. (thinking faces) Players told you to set the season, but it’s too early to set the season right now, isn’t it Rob? Because then you’d have to explain why you’re only going to impose 50 games when we could easily play 70+ right now. The tactic is to bluff with “no season” again and delay another 2-3 weeks until you clear the risk of “not negotiating in good faith by trying to play as many games as possible”. The public backlash combined with potential of having to explain yourself in front of an arbitrator isn’t too appealing, is it? Let’s see…the way I have it figured you want to play between 50 and 60 games. Can’t make it 50 cuz that would be too obvious to everyone what you were trying to do. And no one would think that was a “representative season” so you’d risk not getting your precious playoff money. Nope, can’t have that. So gotta make it more than that. But not too many…you’ve gone as high as about 55 games full prorated salary, so you’ll probably settle somewhere around there, potentially a couple games higher than that to throw people off the scent, isn’t that right, Rob? So in that scenario, let’s see, sept 27 end date to protect playoff tv schedules, 60 ish games, going to have to be at least 4 off days in there…so that’s 64 days. Plus about 20 for spring training…84 days. Sept 27-84 days is July 5. Plus about a week to get players to spring training. So tack on another 7, that takes us to June 28. As I have it figured, that’s your deadline. But today is June 15, so how do you delay another 13 days? (more thinking faces) guess we all got that answer today. Threaten to cancel the season. Threaten arbitration. Threaten grievances. All the while, hold the fans for ransom. Hold the future of the game for ransom. No one believes your bluff, bud. You’re holding a losing hand. Unfortunately, it’s a losing hand for everyone involved, not just you. There’s some saying out there about not killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. Check it out on the ole google machine. It’s worth knowing.
Now that is one fastball that soared high and inside. But Bauer wasn’t alone Monday night. Here’s what several other MLB players said, sharing their disappointment in their league.
Rob Manfred and the owners are walking back on their word…AGAIN. The fans do not deserve this. So I’ll say it one more time, tell us when and where.
— Max Scherzer (@Max_Scherzer) June 16, 2020
Every day somehow continues to get worse. MLB should be embarrassed… everyone involved. Im embarrassed. This is a joke
— Travis Shaw (@travis_shaw21) June 15, 2020
“Good faith” pic.twitter.com/zddVbM5epa
— Enrique Hernández (@kikehndez) June 15, 2020
Well could someone make a decision? We all know what they are doing. Just make a decision.l already stop wasting time.. https://t.co/cZUAX1Tp27
— CountOnAG (@Amir_Garrett) June 15, 2020
What percent chance is it right now? https://t.co/im1oWc4rXu
— ダルビッシュ有(Yu Darvish) (@faridyu) June 15, 2020
Oh that’s weird cause a week ago you said there would be 100% chance of playing. Now the players tell you to implement the season you told/threatened us with it’s now our fault that there’s no dialogue? The players are ready and want to play. You made your bed now sleep in it Rob https://t.co/XLrMKHxsxG
— Dustin Garneau (@dusgar13) June 15, 2020
STALL TACTIC! This is embarrassing. Right now there’s enough time to play 65 games and the owners are pulling out all the stops to make sure there’s only time for a 48-52 game season. Pretty cheap for multi-billionaires. No responsibility to the sport.
— Will Middlebrooks (@middlebrooks) June 15, 2020
As Manfred and MLB owners keep stalling, MLB players will keep voicing their displeasure on social media. And unfortunately, this could be the only baseball anyone gets for a long, long time.