MLB's players and owners have an unenviable task ahead of them: finding a way to play baseball and lift the nation's spirits amid a global pandemic, threading the ultimate needle.
They must balance the requisite finances of a season without fans, while simultaneously guaranteeing a modicum of health and safety to those both at-risk and not.
Unfortunately, so far, they're doing so very much out in the open.
Though the task at hand is so much more than a black-and-white battle between the haves and have nots, it seems to be on the verge of becoming a regular labor conflict, with opinions colored in the mainstream by same issues of yesteryear. Thanks to a series of leaks about the proposal's revenue split and core details, suddenly every public voice in the arena has an opinion about the dangerous precedent of a salary cap instead of simply sitting silent and hoping for a necessary resolution.
You've likely read the discourse in the comments of every bit of Twitter breaking news. The players are greedy for trying to "squeeze an extra dime" out while people are starving in the streets, and the owners are using this unprecedented situation to undo all the MLBPA's progress and turn the sport into a place where salaries are restricted, down the line. But if we didn't know the ins and outs of the very sensitive proposal, we wouldn't be able to formulate an educated opinion on who was taking baseball away from us. We would likely be more focused on the immediate, pressing need for more testing, more tracing, and more security. Instead, this sloppy series of leaks has us calculating contract percentages and reliving 1994 more than we ever should be.
If the 2020 MLB season gets torpedoed, it won't be for public safety reasons, on the surface, as it likely should be. It will instead be framed as a players vs. owners conflict which could undo labor peace at the end of 2021, which will be far more damaging to the sport in the longterm than any crisis management this year.