Gov. Doug Ducey optimistic about MLB negotiations, fans in stands later on

May 28, 2020, 10:55 AM
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Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey expressed optimism Thursday for negotiations negotiations between MLB and its players association, and also acknowledged the possibility that fans could be in the stands at sporting events down the road.

“The first thing I’d say is let’s have some games. That’s step one. Let’s have some games,” Ducey told Arizona Sports’ Doug & Wolf on the matter of in-person fans. “We’re getting this antibody and serology testing which really tells you if you’ve contracted COVID-19 and have since recovered. You likely, according to the epidemiologists and public health experts, have an immunity that’s built up. There would be no reason whatever if that is the case that you couldn’t participate in those games.

“And then as we get into phase three — we’re in phase one right now — as we get into phase three, and this is according to the Centers for Disease Control: You can gather in larger groups. There’s not a cap of 10 or 50. So I think it’s very possible, but it’s several weeks or months into the future.”

Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer said in a statement Wednesday that there’s no reason to further negotiate the matter of pay with MLB owners, since players already agreed to prorated salary figures. Nonetheless, the two sides have gone back and forth over compensation as it relates to getting baseball back on the diamond.

“Everybody wants to play, and with that you have to remain hopeful that something can get done,” D-backs president and CEO Derrick Hall told Doug & Wolf.

“I think it’s too soon to rush to judgment or pick sides, and I hope we don’t get to that point. I hope we watch from the sidelines and realize that it’s a true partnership. This negotiation’s got to be really different than any other, because this is a financial crisis like no other time. In my 30 years, almost 30 years in baseball, I’ve never seen anything like this. It is truly remarkable, it’s frightening. And I think as long as we’re all in it together and transparent and open and honest, you can find a way.”

The back-and-forth over money has some wondering if the issue could cause a cancellation of the 2020 season. Hall was asked whether the owners’ first offer to players over compensation — a 50-50 revenue split — was a lowball.

“I don’t think so,” Hall said. “When you’re comparing to what guarantees were in a normal circumstance, it may appear that way. I don’t think we can say it’s a bad offer. I think we have to say it’s a reflection of a bad environment, it’s a bad economy right now. It truly is.

“It seems grim, it seems dark and in every sport, every negotiation, we usually find a way to come together. I hope that’s the case here.”

Ducey had similar comments, holding out optimism that an agreement would be struck.

“I have to go through a legislative session every year, so I know how difficult some of these negotiations can be,” Ducey said. “I’m hopeful and optimistic, and it seems that we always do figure out, it just isn’t easy on this.

“I know that players want to play and they want to get paid as well, and I know owners, they want to have a baseball season. So to me there is a win-win there, it’s just can we bring the deciding authorities to the table and strike a deal? It’s not even June yet.”

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Gov. Doug Ducey optimistic about MLB negotiations, fans in stands later on