Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association spent a lot of time negotiating the length of the 2020 season, but it’s pretty clear now where MLB stood all along.
Commissioner Rob Manfred said on Wednesday’s “The Dan Patrick Show” that more than 60 games was never an option for MLB as it simply wasn’t feasible to do during a pandemic.
“The reality is, we weren’t going to play more than 60 games no matter how the negotiations with the players went or any other factor,” Manfred said. “Sixty games is the outside of the envelope given the realities of the virus. … We’re trying to manage something that has proven to be unpredictable and unmanageable.
“It’s the calendar. We’re playing 60 games in 63 days right now. I don’t see, given the reality of the health situation over the past few weeks, how we were going to get going any faster than the calendar we’re on right now no matter what the state of those negotiations were.”
The MLBPA, which made a final push for a 70-game season, would probably have something to say about this. Some within the union believe MLB slow-walked negotiations to shorten the window to play a season as much as possible. It’s true that by the time MLB and the MLBPA simply had to come up with a plan or cancel the season, it would have been very difficult to go beyond 60 games.
The question is whether something longer could have been agreed sooner had the negotiations not turned so toxic.