As things start to open up and sports leagues begin to make plans for a return, MLB is about to strike out looking.
The players and owners are in a heated battle over the amount of games to play and compensation. On one side the players are arguing for fair compensation from league owners and are also concerned about their health and safety. The owners are concerned with the lack of revenue the season will bring with no fans in the stands. It's time to put your differences aside and figure this shit out.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred recently went back on his hopeful comments surrounding the MLB season, by now saying he's not confident in baseballs return in 2020 unless the players remove the threat of legal action in the form of a filed grievance against the league if a season is imposed.
Regardless of how the players and owners feel, the fans are the real losers here. If MLB can't figure out a way back amidst the global pandemic, it runs the risk of permanently alienating a number of fans already skeptical about their level of support for an otherwise outdated sport.
Now I'm not talking about the big market teams like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and St. Louis. Those teams, myself included will support their legacy whenever baseball returns. The teams in the smaller markets though are in real danger. Look at a city like Miami, Seattle or Pittsburgh that isn't fielding a great team to begin with; Add a cancelled season into the mix and you run the risk of damaging the loyalty of your fan base beyond repair.
The NFL, NHL and NBA are all committed to figuring out what a return to sports looks like, while MLB and the MLBPA continues to bicker back and forth over more than anything, money.
The MLBPA has recently took the stance of halting negotiations and asking Manfred to "Tell us when and where" they need to be to resume baseball, but that doesn't come without a catch.
The players are ready to return on behalf of the fans, but would file a grievance with the league over their lost compensation for the 2020 season, money that's guaranteed in their contracts. Although, it appears that's not something Manfred or the owners are interested in.
So at the end of the day, we're still nowhere closer to seeing the return of baseball thanks to a number of greedy owners to stingy to open their pocket books and the players not willing to sacrifice partial pay for a shortened season.
The longterm ramifications of a cancelled season might be too great to rebound from, especially in time when so many other leagues are making the strides to cater towards their fans. MLB is sitting in the batters box, watching a hanging changeup go by for strike three.
Follow along to all our action from Brews on the Balcony on Twitter @BrewsOnTheBalcony