The plan drawn up by Major League Baseball owners was dead on arrival to the players with the union balking at what they perceive to be a de facto salary cap. Some are pointing out that the revenue-sharing idea would result in a pay cut for a season that will require significant risk and even voluntary quarantine.
Just how far apart are management and labor to shaking hands and getting the ball rolling on a season? Well, if Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Blake Snell's stance is reflective of the group as a whole, it's far more than the six feet suggested by the CDC.
Speaking candidly while streaming video games last night, Snell explained why he is less than thrilled with the whole thing.
For the reading enthusiasts:
"I’m not splitting no revenue, I want all mine. "Bro, y’all gotta understand too, cause y’all gonna be like, ‘Bro, Blake, play for the love of the game, man! What’s wrong with you, bro? Money should not be a thing.’ "Bro, I’m risking my life, what do you mean it should not be a thing, it should a hundred percent be a thing. If I’m gonna play I should be getting the money I signed to be getting paid. I should not be getting half of what I’m getting paid because the season’s cut in half, on top of a 33% cut of the half that’s already there — so I’m really getting, like, 25% — on top of that, it’s getting taxed. "So, imagine how much I’m actually making to play, you know what I’m saying? "Like, I ain’t making s---. and on top of that — so, all that money’s gone, and now I play risking my life. And if I get the ‘rona — on top of that, if I get the ‘rona — guess what happens with that? Oh yeah, that stays, that’s in my body forever. That damage is not gonna be like — the damage that was done to my body? That’s gonna be there forever.
"So, now I gotta play with that, on top of that. Y’all gotta understand man, for me to go, 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, okay? And that’s just the way it is for me. Like, I’m sorry you guys think differently, but the risk is way the hell higher and the amount of money I’m making is way lower, why would I think about doing that? Like you know, I’m just, I’m sorry. "So, in my head, I’m preparing for next season. Well, I’m actually preparing for right now, but as if I’m preparing for next season. Like, it’s super weird, man. ... "But guys, I’m just saying, it doesn’t make sense for me to lose all of that money and then go play. And then be on lockdown, not around my family, not around the people I love, and getting paid way the hell less. And then the risk of injury runs every time I step on the field. “So it’s just not worth it. It’s not. I love baseball to death, it’s just not worth it. If it’s a pay cut. If it’s no pay cut, I get mine, we could talk. I want to play.”
First things first. Did everyone else know this is what Blake Snell sounds like? This all came as a happy surprise to me.
Secondly, this is a pretty compelling argument. It's striking that the players' position carries more weight when you hear it with some emotion. Though it's going to be easy -- and the owners have already laid the groundwork for this situation -- for the public to castigate their favorite hitters and throwers as selfish, there's far more going on than a squabble over the direct deposit size.
Remember, Snell is this fired up about the monetary side of things. He's not even directly addressing the specious plan for testing or the safety protocols, which is supposed to be revealed today.
Players and ownership have the same common goal. They just have a tremendous amount to work out and outside factors to fall in place. There's a chance all this back-and-forth turns out to be for naught if a second surge of infections take hold nationally.
It's great to have hope for baseball this summer. It's also probably best to have reasonable doubts.