Baseball: Phil’s Harper Has Idea; Greed Could Kill Season
Over the course of Sunday the TV in our home found it's way to the MLB Network. I would characterize myself as a casual baseball fan. And honestly, most of what MLB Network shows is way over my head or really doesn't hold my interest. However their broadcast of exciting World Series Game Seven's yesterday spoke to me. Somewhere between reliving the first World Series I watched with my Mom in 1979, and the Cubs busting the curse of the goat my wife and I had a short conversation about how much we miss baseball and hope it comes back this season.
Will it? Who knows. Last week Major League Baseball presented a detailed plan to get the 2020 season off the ground that made me wonder if it was even worth it. And made me wonder if the players would take one look and decide it was easier to stay home. Hey, that was somewhat my bosses and mine's first take of our company's reopening protocol. Forget reopening right now, let's just keep the building closed and move on.
The Washington Post sums up Major League Baseball's plan quite well:
Think of it this way: masked players who aren’t allowed to spit or high-five sitting at least six feet apart in the dugout and even spilling into the stands as necessary.
That's certainly an interesting way to describe it. The actual playing of the games I don't think is the challenge. It's the rigorous safety protocols that go along with it. You can read more about them from the USA Today here. I get tired just thinking about.
What's more fun is thinking about the season, which brings me to Bryce Harper's interesting plan that's somewhat different than the proposed MLB Schedule. Harper proposes a 135 game season that runs from July through mid November. A 30 man roster with a six pitcher rotation. Sunday seven inning double headers and every other Monday off.
Then the playoffs, a World Series playoff much like the College World Series with ten teams and all games played at one stadium. Three game series, winners move on. Losers play each other, team that wins that moves on as a wild card team. At the end, the two teams left play each other in a seven game series. You can check out his entire plan on Instagram.
All of this, Harper's plan. Major League Baseball's plan. It's probably a baseball purists nightmare. For the casual fan it's fun.
What remains to be seen is if the players and owners can hammer out health protocols that aren't so onerous that it makes someone tired reading through them, or players hesitant to sign on to them. The other stumbling block, money.
The players want the prorated amount of money they're owed in their contracts. Baseball owners, who stand to lose money this season if / when baseball is played in empty stadiums want to do a 50/50 revenue split with the players. It started to get ugly last week when Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Blake Snell went on Twitch and rejected the owners revenue deal:
For me to take a pay cut is not happening, because the risk is through the roof. It’s a shorter season, less pay. No, I gotta get my money. I’m not playing unless I get mine, OK? And that’s just the way it is for me.
Yeah the biggest problem baseball might face in 2020 isn't a complicated health protocol. Or the best way to play ball this season. It's greedy owners and greedy players.
If baseball and it's players play their cards wrong, they could spend the next 20 years rebuilding the game from fans sick of expensive tickets, outrageous parking fees, $13 dollar beers, players who make bank from playing a game most of us would play for free, and greedy owners more concerned about the money in their pocket than the performance of their team.