We all miss baseball.
OK, strike that. Reading some comments from BSJ subscribers and many others on social media, many of you have had it up to here with baseball -- the ugly bickering, the petty squabbles, the sheer inability to get a deal done the way other sports have.
But work with me here. We all miss baseball ... at least to some extent.
Many of us would welcome it back, in almost any form. With more than two months having passed since the original Opening Day and a forecast of a second wave of COVID-19 set for the late fall, however, it's been obvious for a while now that anything close to a 162-game season is simply untenable. There are too many games to make up and too little time to reschedule them.
For a while, the working number was 82 games, or, not accidentally, one more game than exactly half the "normal'' season. The hope was that an early July start would allow the season to get played in a little more than three months, with the postseason getting underway sometime in October and carrying into November.
Fine. Not perfect, but workable under these circumstances.
Then, in an effort to recoup more of their regular season pay (remember: players don't technically get paid in the postseason, though they do qualify for a portion of the gate receipts via playoff shares), the Major League Baseball Players Association proposed a 114-game schedule, a bit more than two-thirds (108) of the 162-game schedule. The caveat was that the players would still be paid on a pro-rata basis.
Unsurprisingly, owners officially rejected that proposal. If the owners had signaled an unwillingness to pay pro-rated salaries for half the year, they surely weren't going to go for the same formula over two-thirds, since, to paraphrase the Jon Lovitz character in A League of Their Own: That would be more, wouldn't it?
At that point, owners began talking about a 50-game season, one sufficiently short enough for them to meet the union's demand of pro-rata pay. Put another way: Owners are treating the regular season like it's merely an appetizer ... before they gorge themselves on dessert, skipping the entree altogether.
That may have been the next logical step in the back-and-forth that characterize these negotiations. Don't like this offer? Fine, here's one you really won't like.
The trouble here is that, according to some interpretation,