By Joe Pantorno
There’s minuscule progress being made between the immovable Major League Baseball and its players’ union.
The two sides have agreed on two years of expanded playoffs, which would up the number of postseason teams from 10 to 16 — eight per league — while the truncated 2020 regular season would run from July 10 to Oct. 11, just one day before a possible Game 7 of the NBA Finals.
That was all the league and union were able to see eye-to-eye on Tuesday as the players proposed an 89-game season with full prorated salaries believed to have been quickly shot down by MLB.
It was a counter to MLB’s 76-game regular-season plan put forth on Monday, which included players receiving 75% of their prorated salaries contingent on the completion of the World Series.
That was a no-go for the players, who have remained steadfast on getting their full prorated salaries — their normal pay but just for the number of games played. While it was MLB’s third attempt at instituting pay cuts while trying to appease the players, all three of their plans that contained different lengths of the season and different pay-cut plans resulted in the players receiving approximately 33% of their salaries.
Concessions will have to be made from one of the parties to get baseball back, and they’ll have to do it soon.
Baseball has already lost out on the grandeur that would have come with a July 4 Opening Day, which is what the initial hope was around the league when owners approved MLB’s initial 82-game return plan more than three weeks ago.
Pushing back Opening Day by six days leaves little room for error while stressing the completion of a deal in the immediate future.
It will take over a week for teams to properly coordinate MLB’s second spring training that adheres to health and safety guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic. Then a two-to-three-week training camp already brings baseball to the second week of July.
And that’s counting from this very day as negotiations remain in such a stalemate.