The owners are stalling

Rob Manfred 60 game season
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Yesterday there was a load of activity surrounding the MLBPA’s counteroffer of a 70-game season to Major League Baseball’s offer on Wednesday of a 60-game season. Some reports had the owners allegedly “livid” at the counter. Rob Manfred himself claimed confusion that he was receiving a counteroffer to begin with, claiming that in his mind he and Tony Clark had an actual deal or something close to it on Wednesday.

It’s hard to take the owners’ claim of anger and outrage seriously. There’s a ten-game difference between the proposals. It’s not miles and miles. When someone is that close to you in a negotiation you may feign anger for a moment, but you know you’re near a deal and you split the difference. Or third the difference. The point being, you’re in the home stretch.

It’s even harder to take Rob Manfred’s claim that he thought he had a deal on Wednesday seriously. If for no other reason than (a) the players said Wednesday afternoon that there was no deal; and (b) Manfred’s own statement on Wednesday acknowledged as much.

Yet the performative outrage is continuing. Check this out from Jon Heyman last night:

First off, I’d be pretty skeptical about that “$300 million more,” both on its own terms and in terms of its significance even if true. The players’ offer, after all, contains a proposal for expanded playoffs for two years and waives grievance rights. The owners get neither of those things if no deal is reached and they simply impose a season. As for the significance, $300 million is $10 million per team, which you’d knock down to $5 million a team if the sides were to split the difference at 65 games. That’s the cost of a relief pitcher. One would think that’d be a fair price to pay to actually play a season and to realize many, many times that back again in postseason money. Even if you disagree with that, one has to acknowledge that the sides are not that far apart.

So why all of the drama? I suspect it’s about running out the clock.

The longer the sides go without reaching a deal the less time there is, practically, to fit in a certain number of games. The owners, it is becoming apparent, would love to fit in as few games as possible but would like to do it in such a way to avoid the players filing a grievance for bad faith negotiating. All of this stomping of feet and renting of garments, then, strikes me as a stalling tactic.

Does that seem like good faith to you? Does that make it seem like the owners even want a season?


No lease extension, but Orioles and governor tout partnership

orioles camden yards
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The Baltimore Orioles and Maryland Gov. Wes Moore announced a joint commitment to what they called a “multi-decade, public-private partnership” to revitalize the Camden Yards sports complex.

The statement from the team and the state’s new governor came Wednesday, the deadline for the Orioles to exercise a one-time, five-year extension to their lease at Camden Yards. The team was not planning to exercise that option, according to a person with knowledge of the decision. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the club hadn’t announced its decision.

With no extension, the lease is set to expire at the end of this year, but the team and the Maryland Stadium Authority can keep negotiating. Wednesday’s joint release seemed to be an attempt to calm any nerves in Baltimore about the team’s future.

“I am looking forward to continuing to collaborate with Governor Moore, his administration, and the Maryland Stadium Authority in order to bring to Baltimore the modern, sustainable, and electrifying sports and entertainment destination the state of Maryland deserves,” Orioles CEO John Angelos said.

“We greatly appreciate Governor Moore’s vision and commitment as we seize the tremendous opportunity to redefine the paradigm of what a Major League Baseball venue represents and thereby revitalize downtown Baltimore. It is my hope and expectation that, together with Governor Moore and the new members and new chairman of the MSA board, we can again fully realize the potential of Camden Yards to serve as a catalyst for Baltimore’s second renaissance.”

Republican Larry Hogan, the state’s previous governor, signed a bill last year increasing bond authorization for M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Baltimore Ravens, and Camden Yards. The measure allowed borrowing of up to $600 million for each stadium.

“When Camden Yards opened 30 years ago, the Baltimore Orioles revolutionized baseball and set the bar for the fan experience,” Moore, a Democrat, said Wednesday. “We share the commitment of the Orioles organization to ensuring that the team is playing in a world-class facility at Camden Yards for decades to come and are excited to advance our public-private partnership.”

Angelos recently reaffirmed that the Orioles would stay in Baltimore, although he dressed down a reporter who asked for more clarity on the future of the team’s ownership situation. Angelos was sued last year by his brother Lou, who claimed John Angelos seized control of the Orioles at his expense.