While the 2020 MLB season is set to commence later this month, it was in danger due to the nasty public negotiations between the league and MLB Players Association. With players demanding full prorated salary, league owners said they couldn't afford to play more than 60 games because of the lack of fans in attendance.
This week, however, some owners expressed hope about allowing a limited amount of ticket holders to watch games later on this summer, despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Boston Red Sox pitcher Collin McHugh, who was part of the tense negotiations, took aim at owners who repeated throughout the negotiation process that this would not be possible.
“Many of the proposals were pushed across the table under the (assumption) that we weren’t going to have fans,” McHugh said, via MassLive.com. “The economic ramifications of that were the main driving factor in the middle of those negotiations. To hear that they want to potentially put fans in the stands at some point this season, it does kind of fly in the face of the premises we were negotiating on. To that point, it is a little frustrating. If that was the mindset the whole time, we probably could have gone down a different path.”
During said negotiations, owners told the union that they expected to lose $640,000 per game due to the lack of gate revenue, which makes up 40% of a team's total earnings. That explains why commissioner Rob Manfred and the 30 owners were dead-set on playing 60 games or less.
Some of the team bosses holding out hope for fans to attend games are Hal Steinbrenner of the New York Yankees and, ironically, Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy. However, all teams will have to follow the guidelines set by their local and state governments to see if that's feasible.
Owners are trying to recoup as much money as possible, and allowing a limited amount of fans in stadium is a risk they're apparently willing to take. Either way, McHugh isn't too happy about this latest update.