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Rob Manfred ‘not confident’ there will be a 2020 MLB season

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Commissioner Rob Manfred says he is “not confident” there will be a 2020 MLB season, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports. This runs counter to Manfred’s declaration last week that “we’re going to play baseball in 2020, 100%.”

Manfred blamed the MLBPA for cutting off negotiations over the weekend. Union head Tony Clark said, “It’s time to get back to work. Tell us when and where.” Manfred said that “as long as there’s no dialogue” the risk of no season “is going to continue.”

The commissioner described the lack of cohesion between the owners and the union as “a disaster for our game.” He added, “It shouldn’t be happening, and it’s important that we find a way to get past it and get the game back on the field for the benefit of our fans.”

Manfred claimed the owners are “100% committed to getting baseball back on the field.” Which is, well, not true since the owners submitted several proposals that were more or less identical to each other, barely making any concessions towards the players after the players agreed to pay cuts back in March. The owners have also used the pandemic to shrink the minor leagues, to shorten the draft, to limit bonuses given to undrafted free agents, and to push back the the international signing period.

Additionally, Manfred continued to accuse the union of “bad faith,” saying that the MLBPA intends to file a greivance “claiming that they were entitled to an additional billion dollars.”

Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that the league sent the union a letter today in which it said there will be no 2020 season unless the players waive their right to legal claims against the league. During a pandemic.

The fact that there is still no plan for a 2020 season and that there may not be a 2020 season at all will be entirely the owners’ fault, not the players. The players have conceded, initially in March. They then scaled back from their original proposal with each subsequent proposal. The owners offered several permutations of essentially the same offer, and also want the players to waive their right to legal recourse while putting their lives at risk due to COVID-19. Manfred, on behalf of the owners, overplayed his hand and the union has successfully called the league out on its bluff. Unfortunately, it is not only Manfred and the owners that will have egg on their face. The sport as a whole will.

Marlins’ Jeter blames outbreak on ‘false sense of security’

Derek Jeter statement
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MIAMI (AP) Miami Marlins CEO Derek Jeter blamed the team’s coronavirus outbreak on a collective false sense of security that made players lax about social distancing and wearing masks.

Infected were 21 members of the team’s traveling party, including at least 18 players. None is seriously ill, Jeter said Monday, and he expects all to return this season.

With more than half of the team sidelined, Jeter said the Marlins still can be competitive when their season resumes Tuesday at Baltimore after a hiatus of more than a week.

Following an MLB investigation, Jeter said, it’s impossible to know where the first Marlins player became infected or how the virus reached their clubhouse. They left South Florida last week to play two exhibition games in Atlanta, and then opened the season with a three-game series in Philadelphia, where the outbreak surfaced.

“Guys were around each other, they got relaxed and they let their guard down,” Jeter said. “They were getting together in groups. They weren’t wearing masks as much as they should have. They weren’t social distancing. The entire traveling party got a little too comfortable.”

Jeter said his players were annoyed by speculation that reckless misbehavior was to blame.

“Our guys were not running all around town in Atlanta,” he said. “We did have a couple of individuals leave the hotel. We had guys leave to get coffee, to get clothes. A guy left to have dinner at a teammate’s house. There were no other guests on site. There was no salacious activity. There was no hanging out at bars, no clubs, no running around Atlanta.”

By Sunday, the outbreak had become so serious that the Marlins’ season was temporarily suspended, with the team stranded in Philadelphia. The infected players have since returned by bus to South Florida, where they are quarantined.

“We have a lot of players who are asymptomatic, and we have players who are showing mild symptoms,” Jeter said.

He said he is optimistic his players will closely adhere to the MLB virus protocols the rest of the season.

“We’ve been given an opportunity to hit the reset button,” Jeter said. “I hope people look at what happened to us and use that as a warning to see how quickly this is able to spread if you’re not following the protocols 100%.”

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