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Vin Scully: ‘We can certainly fight through this’

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Bill Plascke of the Los Angeles Times called up the legendary Vin Scully who, at 92, is most certainly keeping isolated at home. Scully doesn’t seem to mind it though. He has his wife Sandi. His family can visit — they keep a safe distance and there are no hugs — but it’s better than nothing. The other night he watched his favorite movie, “The Music Man,” and he planned to watch “Singin’ in the Rain” the next night. He jokes that, at his age, in retirement, he wasn’t leaving the house much anyway.

But Scully does more than joke. As someone who grew up during the Great Depression and during the shortages and sacrifices of World War II, he provides some valuable perspective:

I remember my mother would feed me something that would fill me up and didn’t cost very much, I remember having pancakes for dinner and a lot of spaghetti . . . We didn’t have any money anyway . . . meat was hard to come by . . . we bit the bullet.

Scully talked about getting through all of that and said, “if we can do that, we can certainly fight through this . . . It’s the life of the world, the ups and downs, this is a down, we’re going to have to realistically accept it at what it is and we’ll get out of it, that’s all there is to it, we will definitely get out of it.”

I’ve been thinking about that sentiment a lot lately. I’ve been keeping a daily diary of the pandemic over at my personal website. A recurring thought that’s been showing up in my entries is one of concern about our country’s ability to sacrifice and act selflessly to protect others.

As I wrote yesterday, some of our leaders are, quite admirably, taking increasingly dire measures to address the pandemic, casting aside political expediency in order to keep people safe. Others, so far, are not rising to the occasion. Because of that there does not seem to be a notion of shared sacrifice in the country, the sort of which prevailed during the Depression and the war.

I fear that, this time around, rather than a “we’re all in this together” attitude, people will just fight over toilet paper and agitate for things to get back to normal as soon as possible because they’ve been inconvenienced for, what, 11 or 12 days now? I’m not one to sugarcoat history or overlook its faults — the so-called “Greatest Generation” had a TON of faults, actually — but they did have it in them to suck it up and deal with adversity in ways I worry that we don’t.

So, as I so often have in the course of my life, I look to Vin Scully for some comfort and assurance when everything seems to be spinning out of control. Maybe people will listen to him and to people like him who have been through worse and who can provide us with some wisdom that we, as a society, seem to have ignored for a few generations. Maybe Vin Scully can, once again, make me feel better, even if he’s not calling a baseball game.

Listen to his conversation with Plaschke below:

MLBPA: MLB’s ‘demand for additional concessions was resoundingly rejected’

Rob Manfred and Tony Clark
LG Patterson/MLB via Getty Images
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On Thursday evening, the Major League Baseball Players Association released a statement regarding ongoing negotiations between the owners and the union. The two sides continue to hash out details concerning a 2020 season. The owners want a shorter season, around 50 games. The union recently proposed a 114-game season that also offered the possibility of salary deferrals.

MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said that the union held a conference call that included the Executive Board and MLBPA player leaders. They “resoundingly rejected” the league’s “demand for additional concessions.”

The full statement:

In this time of unprecedented suffering at home and abroad, Players want nothing more than to get back to work and provide baseball fans with the game we all love. But we cannot do this alone.

Earlier this week, Major League Baseball communicated its intention to schedule a dramatically shortened 2020 season unless Players negotiate salary concessions. The concessions being sought are in addition to billions in Player salary reductions that have already been agreed upon.

This threat came in response to an Association proposal aimed at charting a path forward. Among other things, Players proposed more games, two years of expanded playoffs, salary deferrals in the event of a 2020 playoff cancellation, and the exploration of additional jewel events and broadcast enhancements aimed at creatively bringing our Players to the fans while simultaneously increasing the value of our product. Rather than engage, the league replied it will shorten the season unless Players agree to further salary reductions.

Earlier today we held a conference call of the Association’s Executive Board and several other MLBPA Player leaders. The overwhelming consensus of the Board is that Players are ready to report, ready to get back on the field, and they are willing to do so under unprecedented conditions that could affect the health and safety of not just themselves, but their families as well. The league’s demand for additional concessions was resoundingly rejected.

Important work remains to be done in order to safely resume the season. We stand ready to complete that work and look forward to getting back on the field.

As per the current agreement signed in March, if there is a 2020 season, players will be paid on a prorated basis. Thus, fewer games means the players get paid less and the owners save more. MLB has threatened to unilaterally set a 2020 season in motion if the two sides cannot come to terms. It should come as no surprise that the union has responded strongly on both fronts.

There have been varying reports in recent days over the confidence in a 2020 season happening. The MLBPA’s statement tonight doesn’t move the needle any; it simply affirms that the union remains steadfast in its goal to avoid a second significant cut in salaries.

As I see it, the ball is in the owners’ court. The owners can strongarm the players into a short season, saving money but significantly increasing the odds of a big fight in upcoming collective bargaining agreement negotiations. Or the owners can eat more of a financial loss, agreeing to a longer season than they feel is comfortable. The latter would have the double benefit of not damaging overall perception of the sport and would not disrupt labor peace going forward.

The MLBPA statement included a declaration that the players are “ready to report, ready to get back on the field, and they are willing to do so under unprecedented conditions.” If there is no 2020 season, we will have only the owners to blame, not the players.

Update: Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty, who has been quite vocal on social media about these negotiations, chimed in: