MLB commissioner Rob Manfred ‘not confident’ there will be a season

Jun 15, 2020, 2:08 PM | Updated: 2:11 pm
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)...
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said he isn’t certain a 2020 season will be played, a 180-degree turnaround from previous statements that a 2020 MLB season would certainly happen.

Manfred told ESPN that he’s “not confident” a 2020 season will happen at all as players and owners ceased negotiations on terms of returning to play over the weekend. Last week, Manfred said a 2020 season would “100%” happen.

“I’m not confident,” he told ESPN for its “Return to Sports” special. “I think there’s real risk; and as long as there’s no dialogue, that real risk is gonna continue.”

“The owners are a hundred percent committed to getting baseball back on the field. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you that I’m a hundred percent certain that’s gonna happen.”

According to Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro, an unnamed player heard that a small group of owners lobbied for no season at all.

The Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin reported that players were told in a letter from MLB that there wouldn’t be a 2020 season unless players waived legal claims against the league.

Players and owners have feuded with one another in recent weeks. On March 26, the two sides successfully negotiated an agreement that said players would earn a pro-rated portion of their salary, proportionate to the number of games played. The league’s owners argue that was contingent on there being fans in the stands, which now appears highly unlikely.

Most recently, MLB offered a proposal to players that called for a 72-game season and players earning 70% of pro-rated salaries. Players rejected that proposal, and a statement from the union called any further negotiations “futile.”

“I had been hopeful that once we got to common ground on the idea that we were gonna pay the players full prorated salary, that we would get some cooperation in terms of proceeding under the agreement that we negotiated with the MLBPA on March 26th,” Manfred said to ESPN. “Unfortunately, over the weekend, while Tony Clark was declaring his desire to get back to work, the union’s top lawyer was out telling reporters, players and eventually getting back to owners that as soon as we issued a schedule – as they requested – they intended to file a grievance claiming they were entitled to an additional billion dollars.

“Obviously, that sort of bad-faith tactic makes it extremely difficult to move forward in these circumstances.”

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