With a secret one-on-one meeting in Arizona, followed by a new economic proposal from Major League Baseball to its players` union, the sport appears within reach of a deal that would end a months-long negotiation over players` salaries and ultimately save a 2020 baseball season. Players and staff will travel to training camps – most of which will take place in home stadiums – for check-in on July 1. The rosters will be frozen on Friday afternoon, resulting in potential trades and free agent signings. If all goes well in the next three weeks, baseball will return for 60 games in 66 days, a shorter season than any other the sport has experienced so far. But a 60-game season is so shortened that at no point can you stop saying “small sample.” (Well, we might stop saying it, but we won`t stop thinking about it.) As analysts Eno Sarris and Russell Carleton have shown, there is much more noise in a 60-game season, which means the likelihood of an upset is much higher. As FanGraphs` Dan Szymborski wrote earlier this month, “With 50 games, the ability to judiciously distinguish the great from the good, the mediocre and the bad begins to fade.” He went on to say that the probability of a .500 talent team or worse winning the World Series in a 50-game season is about one-on-five — about six times higher than in a full season. And 50 is not far from 60. Major League Baseball has finally unveiled an agreement with the Major League Baseball Players` Association on how it will hold the 2020 season. MLB later claimed that the deal was just a starting point and insisted that players receive a lower salary per game if they wanted to play a season. The MLBPA said such an idea was not a launcher and that this impasse was essentially the basis for subsequent negotiations. Regardless of the protocol agreement, players, as well as people returning to work and athletes from other sports, need to realize that there is zero unequal risk. Players have and should have the option to unsubscribe from the game if they do not feel comfortable.
“This is what I told Rob (Manfred) today,” said Yankees president Randy Levine, who was the league`s negotiator that was born out of the 1994-95 strike. “As I said, I have a lot of respect for the players. I don`t think we can agree on the number of games. MLB`s PR issues haven`t been totally self-inflicted in recent months. The long economic feud in baseball has been caused by COVID-19, which has subjected the sport to an unprecedented stress test. MLB has made up this test, but it has also faced more difficult questions than some of the leagues that have handled the situation more smoothly. The NBA and NHL had completed most of their regular seasons (with fans in the stands) when the pandemic hit. These leagues had accumulated most of their revenue forecasts, and their players had already received the bulk of their salaries.