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The Dispute between MLB and MLBPA Affects More Than the 2020 Season

If the two sides cannot negotiate now, will they be able to negotiate over a new CBA after the 2021 season?

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

While it appears that there may not be a 2020 season now after the players refuse to budge from their demands of a full prorated salary (which is fair), and the owners refuse to meet those demands with a reasonable amount of games. The frustration caused by this seemingly never-ending debate spreads to everyone who wants to play or watch baseball this season. However, while this dispute is centered around the 2020 season, it highlights the disconnect between the league and the players’ association. This creates the potential for more gridlock when the current collective bargaining agreement expires following the 2021 season.

It is clear that neither side trusts each other right now, and the frustration is evident. To see this, all one needs to do is look at the twitter account of any major league baseball player and there will likely be some GIF or statement expressing their frustration (If you are not following Jack Flaherty on Twitter, you should be). Each side, and especially the players, believes that the other side has not chosen to negotiate in good faith. This obviously creates a problem as there is a complete lack of trust between the two side and in order for any deal to happen, some level of trust is needed. If the two sides cannot come to an agreement on the parameters for the potential 2020 season, then there will be immense potential for a delayed 2022 season as well. The players frustrations with Rob Manfred and the owners will not go away unless some concessions are made, and even then they will probably still harbor some ill will towards them.

This could make it very difficult to agree on a new collective bargaining agreement. If neither side is willing to concede on anything, then it will be nearly impossible to draw up a new CBA. It is likely that the anger from the negotiations over the 2020 season will carry over into those negotiations. This is not good for baseball, and especially not good for its fans. In a time when the popularity of baseball is declining, it is interesting to see that nearly every other major sports league in America, except for Major League Baseball, will return to playing games soon. All that sports fans want is to watch sports, so baseball fans and potential baseball fans are being left hanging by the league. The only thing that could make the loss of the 2020 season worse, would be the delay of the 2022 season due to more negotiations. This would mean that there would only be one full season over the span of three years. This would be an embarrassment for the league. However, there is serious potential for this to happen.

Unless something changes, it looks like the 2021 season will be the only normal season for a couple of years. The league and the players’ association need to figure out how to make deals with each other if they want baseball seasons to progress normally. However, it currently seems as if this is not possible. Hopefully, these 2020 negotiations do not cause more frustration before the 2022 season. Unfortunately, this currently appears unavoidable.