Player Discouragement in Negotiations, Random Cubs, Votto's Letter, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Player Discouragement in Negotiations, Random Cubs, Votto’s Letter, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

On the COVID-19 testing/tracking front, the data has been telling the same national story for a couple weeks now. On the good side, testing volumes continue to reach new heights, and deaths continue to decline. On the less good side, the positive test rate seems to have bottomed out a bit at around 5%, and new positive cases overall are just not falling with any kind of rapidity. You can detect a mild downward slope, but many states are seeing a significant increase in new cases (though the positive test rate is holding steady). That doesn’t, alone, mean there are new hotspot outbreaks (mostly in the south and southwest), but even as testing ramps up, it’s not like you *want* to see new heights in cases.

•   Ian Happ, whose crew arrived in Chicago safely after their cross-country road trip, has been among the more positive and upbeat voices out there. So when he told The Score late last week that he finally got hit with a moment of disappointment – and it was the same moment that flipped my switch into uncontrollable anger territory – I listened (670 The Score):

“It’s always positive when both sides are talking,” said Happ, a player representative for the Cubs. “I think the proposal the players sent over was very comprehensive. It covered so many of the topics that MLB has an issue with. It was very disappointing to hear a straight rejection from them and not a counterproposal.

“It’s tough when players are saying, ‘Hey, we want to play as much baseball as possible. We want to get ourselves back by the end of June, we want to play, and we want to give it to the fans. We want to make sure that there’s baseball on TV to watch and we want to get to a point where hopefully we can have people in the stands by the end of the year.’

“To have that approach met by, ‘No, thank you. We’re OK,’ that was very difficult to hear. That was the first time I think during the negotiations that I was very, very disappointed. I’m just hoping we can do something, figure something out, to get both sides on the same page and get baseball back.”

•   How else can you put it? Was the players’ 114-game ask very aggressive? Yes. Was it doomed to a rejection? Of course. But was it an OBVIOUS opportunity to continue negotiating? YES! And then the owners just sat on their duffs for another week of absolutely nothing productive. Now, today, AFTER they’ve blown the chance to have baseball back by the 4th of July, the owners are going to TALK TO EACH OTHER about the POSSIBILITY of doing some more negotiating with the players? It’s a joke. A terrible, ugly joke.

•   The players want to play:

•   Just look at the opportunities you’re missing, MLB:

•   Phones, coffee makers, and electric toothbrushes are your Deals of the Day at Amazon today. #ad

•   This is fun to look at, even setting aside the ‘Long Gone Summer’ aspect (but, hey, go win yourself a shirt):

•   More from the event this weekend that involved Chicago athletes and community outreach:

•   Joey Votto wrote an op-ed for his local paper about his own process, working to come to terms with his failings on racial injustice. It’s really powerful, and it’s a message that I hope becomes more familiar to white players and white fans and white bloggers, who previously thought themselves good people who were saying and doing the right things. It concludes:

Everything inside of me wants things to go back to normal. I don’t want to protest, raise my voice, or challenge someone. I don’t want to have heated arguments, break up friendships, or challenge previous norms.

But I hear you now, and so that desire for normalcy is a privilege by which I can no longer abide. That privilege kept me from understanding the “why” behind Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem. That privilege allowed me to ignore my black teammates’ grievances about their experiences with law enforcement, being profiled, and discriminated against. And that privilege has made me complicit in the death of George Floyd, as well as the many other injustices that blacks experience in the U.S. and my native Canada.

A week after I returned Mandela’s biography to the library shelf, I dismissed a black friend’s plea for support. Only now am I just beginning to hear. I am awakening to their pain, and my ignorance. No longer will I be silent.


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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.