Miami Marlins part owner Derek Jeter is sharing his perspective on the troubling restart negotiations between Major League Baseball and the players union. To anyone who hung on every insulting offer dressed up as a good faith proposal to bring baseball back in 2020, his conclusion will come as no surprise.
In Jeter’s opinion, there is no trust between the owners and players. And those public airing of grievances that overrode any hope for an honest negotiation amid the coronavirus shutdown? Jeter termed those as “disappointing” and “embarrassing” developments for baseball.
“It was disappointing, it was embarrassing at times; the back and forth,” Jeter said of the failed negotiations that ultimately led to commissioner Rob Manfred implementing a 60-game schedule. “There is no trust (between the owners and players) is the best way to put it.”
If anyone can make that statement with confidence, it’s Jeter. He’s been on both sides of the table over the course of his near three-decade career in professional baseball. Of course, it’s been nearly as long since we’ve witnessed a battle this intense between the owners and players. The strike of 1994, which came one season before Jeter’s MLB debut, is the last time MLB was shutdown during the season.
If not for the power wielded by Manfred, it’s possible baseball would not have returned at all in 2020. That’s how far apart the sides were as they fought over prorated salaries and the number of games they were willing to play.
According to Jeter, both sides could have worked better together to avoid such a wide — and very public — disconnect.
“It was pretty sad to see the back and forth being played out publicly in a time like now. We have so many people filing for unemployment throughout the country; over 30 million people, 40 million people with no jobs. And they really don’t want to hear owners and players going back and forth about how much money they deserve and how much money they need.
“I get it, I was a player. I feel as though players should fight for everything that they feel as though they should have. And I’ll always support them in that sense. But, in this particular case, I think some things should have been done behind the scenes.”
While the owners have taken the bulk of the criticism, the public battle did no real favors for either side. It only fueled the fire for the next CBA negotiations following the 2021 season, while making fans feel like a third, unappreciated wheel.
Those same fans can sense what’s coming next. With Jeter acknowledging the distrust that exists, what we’ve seen over the last three excruciating months may just be an appetizer of what’s to come.
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