By: Kurt Snyder & Holly Horning
Welcome to our newest blog! Take one hot issue, 2 bloggers and 5 questions to get your Friday off to a conversation-ready start. To make it even more interesting, Kurt and Holly have a maximum of 2 sentences in which to make their points. Let’s roll with the questions!
1. Should baseball be played this year?
I want both sides to drop the money talk and dedicate the season to virus relief, turning money loss into a money raising effort; run a phone number along the bottom of the screen for every game they play and let’s raise some damn money. It’s real important for this sport, our sport, to take the lead and be the one to get out on the field for the fans; it’d be an important cause and would help grow the game.
If health and safety standards are met, then absolutely, because this $11-billion-dollar industry is responsible for the employment of not just the players and organizations, but also the hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of those who work for radio, tv, print/online media, manufacturers, food services and so many other job categories dependent upon baseball to help put food on their tables. It’s not just about the game but also the need to return to normal, to rebuild economic stability, keep talent from declining and maintain the development of minor league talent.
2. Should players take a further pay reduction in order for baseball to be played this year?
When it comes to the players, the ones who really concern me are the minor leaguers, who will get hurt the most over all of this. The major leaguers stand to lose a lot, but you know, they are making a lot and will come out the other end just fine – suck it up and let’s go.
It’s hard to argue with players who have already taken a 50% (and maybe more) pay cut and will be working under stressful and restrictive conditions that many would consider meeting hazard pay standards. But if it’s the only way a season gets played, then, yes, they should with the hope that owners would offer them another form of financial reward such as revenue sharing or partially-deferred salaries instead of salary reductions.
3. If having a season hinges on finances, which side – MLB or players – would you support in their argument?
Sorry, I can’t take a side because no one on the outside, meaning fans of this game and people new to the game, want to hear multi-millionaire players and owners talk about what they stand to lose in this environment. No one wants to hear it, so I can’t possibly take a side.
Whichever side shuts down the season because of money will look really bad. One would hope that both sides would do the right thing to make a season happen, but if owners, who keep crying about financial ruin, don’t open their books (as requested) to support their argument, it will be very telling and, as a result, channel my support to the players.
4. How big a deal are the proposed rules – no spitting, safe distances, players spread out, no clubhouse showering, curfews, etc. – that are intended to keep teams healthy and playing?
If they make these things a big deal given how good the sport will look having pushed through and salvaged a sports season in 2020, then they don’t want to do it bad enough. This is a year of sacrifice for so many, a year of total upheaval and drastic changes; these are minor in retrospect.
Change is hard for almost everyone, but these new rules pale in comparison to the changes and hardships much of the world is taking on now. These are guys who are extremely lucky to not only have jobs, but to also be paid in the high 6- and 7 figures so they should be thankful, roll with the punches and hope to take from this some lessons for personal and professional growth.
5. If there is no minor league season, what should the Tigers do with their top prospects?
They need to have a season in some capacity, whether it is in Toledo or through an expanded roster at the major league level. The top prospects are who gets hurt the most by losing a season of development and it should be close to the top priority to consider them when teams decide whether or not to buy into a 2020 baseball season.
If MLB doesn’t approve the suggested larger roster in order to accommodate the top minor leaguers, it becomes “use it or lose it” time for players like Mize (who will otherwise become MLB’s oldest #1 draft pick when he finally debuts), Manning and others. If it’s determined that they are mentally strong to withstand the expected struggles of making an earlier jump, then there’s absolutely no reason to hang onto players like Jordan Zimmermann (now earning half his salary) in a shortened season that will mean relatively nothing to the majority of teams.
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