It’s rare that you can say things like this week is probably the most consequential for Major League Baseball in the last quarter century, but these are rare times.
That’s how Jeff Passan frames what is happening this week, starting today, as MLB and the players attempt to cobble together a deal to get this season off the ground during a pandemic:
Considering what’s at stake, this has a chance to be the most important week for baseball in more than a quarter century. MLB is expected to deliver its long-awaited financial proposal today, and the fallout from it could be the difference between baseball or no baseball in 2020. pic.twitter.com/1wnsm2w8yp
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) May 26, 2020
We are likely to know a great deal by tonight, not so much in whether it’s definitely happening, but in whether the owners’ proposal today is going to be realistic enough to get a deal done this week. As we’ve said, and as Passan’s point addresses: if the season is ultimately shut down because of money, not because of the virus, there is no predicting the widespread, long-lasting damage to the sport.
Meanwhile, many teams continue to pre-prepare, as you can see in the subscript there from Passan’s appearance, by starting to allow players access to team facilities – home or Spring Training – for workouts. That should not be viewed as a sign that those teams or players are expecting a deal. I think teams and players simply recognize that it’s been difficult to train during the period of quarantine, so making facilities available to players, where safe, is a good idea regardless of what’s coming next. And if it winds up being an opportunity for players to be a little safer – from injury – when ramping up in an eventual Spring Training II, all the better.
No word yet on what the Cubs plan to do on that front, as their facilities have been shut down since Spring Training was suspended back in March. Unlike many other states, Illinois has not yet indicated an immediate willingness to permit a pro sports team like the Cubs to train at Wrigley Field, though it’s conceivable that with protocols in place, a request might be sufficient. The Cubs’ facilities in Arizona, however, are permitted to be opened back up under state law, but that has not yet happened.