Sport

MLBPA officially rejects league proposal to delay start of 2021 season

MLBPA officially rejects league proposal to delay start of 2021 season”

After the prolonged battle in the summer of 2020 and the expected labor stoppage ahead of the next CBA, the last thing the league needed was another couple weeks/months of both sides dragging each other through the mud.

Under the league's plan, players would receive full pay based on a 162-game schedule. "The clear-cut result of these deliberations is that players will not accept MLB's proposal, will instead continue preparations for an on-time start to the 2021 season, and will accept MLB's commitment to again direct its clubs to prepare for an on-time start". Players received 60/162nds of their salaries.

"We do not make this decision lightly", the MLBPA said.

Under the proposal, Opening Day would be pushed back from April 1 to April 28 and Spring Training, now set to begin in mid-February, would start on March 22.

If the union rejects the proposal, it will likely lead to spring training and the regular season starting as scheduled.

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But there is a financial aspect that is motivating the owners as well. A delay of the season would allow for the level of COVID-19 infection rates to decrease and additional time for the distribution of vaccinations, as well as minimizing potential disruptions to the 2021 season that now face all sports. In a deal for expanded 16-team playoffs in 2020, Major League Baseball guaranteed a postseason players' pool of $50 million. A year ago, MLB had 16 teams with eight from each league - the top two teams in each division and two wild-card teams - in an effort to generate some of the lost revenue of a reduced regular season with no fans at times.

Seven teams in each league would have made the playoffs, and only the division victor with the best record would have received a bye in the best-of-three first round. There would be a selection show in which the seeded teams would be able to, in order of percentage, select their first-round opponent.

Each team would start with 18 scheduled days off, and each team would be allowed to be scheduled up to 12 split doubleheaders.

As part of the plan, owners would guarantee a postseason players' pool of 60% of the gate of the first two first-round games plus $80 million for the remainder of the postseason, matching the 2019 pool. The rejected proposal also included a universal designated hitter and a 14-team postseason field, so for now the 2021 season will be played with no DH in the National League and 10 teams in the playoffs.



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