We are headed it some uncharted territory. We haven’t had live baseball in the United States of any sort for two months now. There isn’t even a local Little League game to go and look on depressingly, wondering why they aren’t better. There are no umpires to berate, socializations to happen, no father-son/father-daughter/mother-son/mother-daughter dates to the ballpark where both parent and child can enjoy their favorite sport.
But there’s a plan!
By now, you’ve seen the plan that has been proposed to the player’s association by the owners that details how they plan to increase safety measures so that these same players can feel safe going to the ballpark. You’ve also heard how some players, Blake Snell in particular, have spoken their opinion about whether they will play under the financial picture that the owners have painted for them and their opposition to that plan. Granted, Snell may speak for a small group of players within the union, but as Bryce Harper pointed out, he’s not the only one thinking these things. If you weren’t aware, this is what Snell said, from that same article:
“Y’all gotta understand, man, for me to go — for me to take a pay cut is not happening, because the risk is through the roof,” Snell said while answering questions on his Twitch channel. “It’s a shorter season, less pay. No, I gotta get my money. I’m not playing unless I get mine, OK? And that’s just the way it is for me. Like, I’m sorry you guys think differently, but the risk is way the hell higher and the amount of money I’m making is way lower. Why would I think about doing that?”
Now, we all know the optics of this kind of statement being made in the current economic climate that we are currently experiencing, but there has to be a step taken back here before anyone jumps all over the player’s union.
Before you begin to call for heads, question loyalty to fans and get those keyboard muscles working on Instagram and Twitter, consider this:
If your boss proposed to you a financial compromise, you accepted it, then that same boss decided he/she didn’t want to do it anymore and offered less money all while expecting you to enter the workforce and potentially expose yourself to the virus — would you?
The problem with this while “you should just be happy you get to play for the amount of money!” argument is that we can’t comprehend that amount of money. I, for one, could not even dream of what it would be like to make $7 million this year, the amount that Snell was scheduled to make, so I can’t relate to him. So why even try? Instead, it comes down to a personal decision that each player needs to make, one that at some point many people will have to make - do they want to stay home or go to work, knowing what going to work means risking?
While it is difficult to leave money out of the equation when speaking about professional athletes, at this point you have to. We wouldn’t want people to risk their health if they don’t feel comfortable. This isn’t about whether or not you believe quarantine measure should continue to be in place, whether or not you should wear a mask in a public place, etc. I’m not going to argue about those points. This is about which side of the argument you fall on: the players, the ones who will actually be doing all of the interactions on the field, or the owners, the ones who have to pay the salaries without revenue coming in as it used to.
***DISCLAIMER: any discussions about this topic need to be cordial and without insult. Thank you in advance.***