Report: Owners want players to sign ‘acknowledgment of risk’ waiver before playing

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Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times reports that Major League Baseball’s proposal to the players  includes a revision to the league’s Operations Manual which would require players to sign an “acknowledgment of risk” waiver before playing.

The players, quite reasonably, believe that the waiver is aimed at undermining their ability to file grievances against the league in the event that they are placed in unsafe working conditions during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. I mean, why else would they be proposing it now?

Either way, given how much uncertainty there is regarding what safe practices may be once play resumes, shifting all of the risk onto the players, while a predictable aim of the owners, is not a reasonable one. The only way for baseball to work during the pandemic will be if everyone is truly incentivized to make conditions as safe as possible for everyone in and around the game. A waiver does the opposite of that.

This is especially troubling given that Major League Baseball has claimed that it intends to contact and coordinate with local health departments on its safety protocols but, per Bradford William Davis’ reporting in the New York Daily News, they simply haven’t done so.

Between this and counteroffers that continue to want to pay players cents on the dollar, it’s almost as if Major League Baseball is looking for a way to get out of playing a 2020 season altogether.

New bill to build Athletics stadium on Las Vegas Strip caps Nevada’s cost at $380 million

D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports
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CARSON CITY, Nev. — A bill introduced in the Nevada Legislature would give the Oakland Athletics up to $380 million for a potential 30,000 seat, $1.5 billion retractable roof stadium on the Las Vegas Strip.

The bulk of the public funding would come from $180 million in transferable tax credits from the state and $120 million in county bonds, which can vary based on interest rate returns. Clark County also would contribute $25 million in credit toward infrastructure costs.

The A’s have been looking for a home to replace Oakland Coliseum, where the team has played since arriving from Kansas City for the 1968 season. The team had sought to build a stadium in Fremont, San Jose and finally the Oakland waterfront, all ideas that never materialized.

The plan in the Nevada Legislature won’t directly raise taxes. It can move forward with a simply majority vote in the Senate and Assembly. Lawmakers have a little more than a week to consider the proposal before they adjourn June 5, though it could be voted on if a special session is called.

The Athletics have agreed to use land on the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip, where the Tropicana Las Vegas casino resort sits. Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao has said he is disappointed the team didn’t negotiate with Oakland as a “true partner.”

Las Vegas would be the fourth home for a franchise that started as the Philadelphia Athletics from 1901-54. It would become the smallest TV market in Major League Baseball and the smallest market to be home to three major professional sports franchises.

The team and Las Vegas are hoping to draw from the nearly 40 million tourists who visit the city annually to help fill the stadium. The 30,000-seat capacity would make it the smallest MLB stadium.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said a vote on the Oakland Athletics’ prospective move to Las Vegas could take place when owners meet June 13-15 in New York.

The plan faces an uncertain path in the Nevada Legislature. Democratic leaders said financing bills, including for the A’s, may not go through if Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo vetoes the five budget bills, which he has threatened to do as many of his priorities have stalled or faded in the Democratic-controlled Legislature.

Under the bill, the Clark County Board of Commissioners would create a homelessness prevention and assistance fund along the stadium’s area in coordination with MLB and the Nevada Resort Association. There, they would manage funds for services, including emergency rental and utility assistance, job training, rehabilitation and counseling services for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

The lease agreement with the Las Vegas Stadium Authority would be up for renewal after 30 years.

Nevada’s legislative leadership is reviewing the proposal, Democratic state Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager said in a statement.

“No commitment will be made until we have both evaluated the official proposal and received input from interested parties, including impacted community members,” Yeager said.