The definition of insanity, it's often said, is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
Welcome, in other words, to Major League Baseball's curious negotiating strategy.
Over the last few weeks, MLB has made three different offers to the Players Association concerning salary payments for a shortened 2020 season.
Initially, the offer was an 82-game schedule featuring a sliding-scale proposal, with those players at the upper end of the pay scale being asked to sacrifice the most and players nearer the bottom seeing their salaries reduced by a smaller percentage.
Next came a 50-game proposal in which the players would earn their full pro-rated salaries for the season, translating into a little less than one-third of their original expected pay.
Finally, on Monday, MLB countered with an offer to guarantee half the pro-rated salaries for a 76-game schedule. Should the entire postseason be completed, salaries would be funded to 75 percent of the pro-rated figure.
All three had one thing in common: in each proposal, owners would be paying out a total of $1.4 billion, give or take a few million here and there. They can decorate each offer however they wish and put different bows on them, but in the end, they're all pretty much identical.
No matter how Major League Baseball presented it, or how they arrived at the math, the final number remained the same. The rest -- amount guaranteed, length of schedule -- is mere wrapping paper.
All of which makes it impossible to ignore that one of two things are true about MLB owners: