The final weekend of May couldn't begin without just a little more drama between MLB owners and the MLB Players Association regarding the start of the 2020 season amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier on Friday, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that no economic proposals were exchanged between the two sides that remain in a standstill following an agreement in March that included pro-rated salaries for a pandemic-shortened season.
The owners have since maintained that deal was dependent on fans attending games. If there's a season, it's believed that MLB contests played this summer and fall will occur behind closed doors and without spectators.
Friday evening, Ken Rosenthal of MLB on FOX, The Athletic, and MLB Network tweeted info contained in an MLBPA memo. That memo says the union is "weighing the timing and substance of a potential response to MLB’s proposal that 'sought additional paycuts of more than $800M that it contends are necessary to make it economically feasible to play games without fans.'"
In an memo to players today, the MLBPA said it is weighing the timing and substance of a potential response to MLB’s proposal that “sought additional paycuts of more than $800M that it contends are necessary to make it economically feasible to play games without fans.” 1/2— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) May 29, 2020
The memo also says the MLBPA is awaiting documentation to prove "the dubious financial distress" owners will endure if customers aren't welcomed to ballparks because of the uncontrolled virus outbreak:
The MLBPA’s memo to players also states, “Importantly, the union still awaits key documents from MLB that would support the dubious financial distress claims the league has made in its attempt to force the additional givebacks from players.” 2/2— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) May 29, 2020
MLB Network insider Jon Heyman has reported June 1 is the "soft deadline" for a deal to get done, but also that the owners and players could continue talks through at least June 10.
On Tuesday, Heyman reported MLB wants spring training 2.0 to begin on June 10.
As things stand, MLB is in danger of getting lapped by the NHL and NBA. The NHL could start training camp as early as July 10 ahead of its 24-team model to finish the season that was suspended on March 12 because of the pandemic.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Ramona Shelburne, and Zach Lowe reported on Friday the NBA Board of Governors could approve the Association's return-to-play proposal next Thursday ahead of potentially scheduling the season resumption for July 31.
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