It's very likely a baseball season won't be happening this year. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred was on ESPN's Return to Sports special on Monday and talked about the chances of a season played this summer. Manfred said he's "not confident" because the players and the league can't agree to a deal.
"I'm not confident. I think there's real risk, and as long as there's no dialogue, that real risk is going to continue," Manfred said. This comes on the heels of Manfred saying, "unequivocally, we are going to play Major League Baseball this year" to ESPN last week. He also added there's a "100 percent chance" the players will be back on the field this year. When MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark heard Manfred comments on Monday, he said the players are furious.
"Players are disgusted that after Rob Manfred unequivocally told Players and fans that there would '100 percent' be a 2020 season, he has decided to go back on his word and is now threatening to cancel the entire season," Clark said in a statement. "Any implication that the Players Association has somehow delayed progress on health and safety protocols is completely false, as Rob has recently acknowledged the parties are 'very, very close.'" The statement also read the dispute between the owners and players have been about "extracting additional pay cuts from Players and this is just another day and another bad faith tactic in their ongoing campaign."
In March, MLB suspended operations due to the COVD-19 pandemic. The owners and players have been in talks to finalize a deal to start back the season, but both sides can't agree on the number of games to play and contracts. On Friday, MLB made an offer that would guarantee players 70 percent of their salaries with a 72-game scheduled beginning July 14. Their salaries could increase to 80 percent if the postseason is completed.
The players denied that offer as they want more games. The MLBPA has offered to play 114 and 89-game seasons with extended playoffs. Manfred said what's going on now is not suitable for the game of baseball. He said on ESPN: "It's just a disaster for our game, absolutely no question about it. It shouldn't be happening, and it's important that we find a way to get past it and get the game back on the field for the benefit of our fans."