The United States is cautiously working towards opening up the country in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.  One way that the opening would have an impact on people would be the return of organized sports, albeit without fans in attendance.  Both the National Hockey League and National Basketball Association have begun to formulate plans to return.  Major League Baseball started the process to do the same.  But there appear to be major challenges ahead, especially when it comes to what the players think.

On Tuesday, Major League Baseball issued their first proposal to the Major League Baseball Players Association. While the two sides had previously agreed that players would earn a pro-rated portion based upon games played, Major League Baseball is looking for a different agreement.  The reason? Lost ticket revenue, something not anticipated in the previous proposal.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post laid out Tuesday's proposal, which included some of the highest-earning players taking the biggest financial hit for the season:

The proposal called for many tiers between the lowest salaries and richest contracts, with the sliding scale impacting each tier.

The proposal also called for players to receive a financial bump if the postseason were played to conclusion, since MLB receives its largest share of national TV money from the playoffs.

The players association described the proposal as requiring massive pay cuts on what already is going to be the loss of a half season of pay if the sides agree to an 82-game season and comes at a time when the players — not owners — would be taking risk of exposure to coronavirus by returning to play. To that end, the union also indicated the sides had sizable differences on health and safety matters.

This did not go over well with players.

Max Scherzer took to Twitter for his perspective late Wednesday night:

Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports that this is a very "galvanized" response from players. The sticking point here might be financial transparency.  In short, the players do not seem to believe that MLB clubs are that financially strapped.
Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of the Athletic report that players believe that baseball could play 100 games, more than the 82 proposed by Major League Baseball.  This also includes the belief that the would keep their salaries to the pro-rated level that the previous agreement made.   The players may not agree to any proposal that does not include pro-rated salaries. I

t appears fanless games was not something that Major League Baseball anticipated when they made that March 26 deal.

Meanwhile, Trevor Bauer of the Cincinnati Reds had another complaint: a certain super agent:

The Boras Corporation represents Scherzer, Bryce Harper, and many of the game's top players.

Despite all of this tension, one voice believes that there will be a baseball season in 2020.  Bob Nightengale of USA Today expressed optimism in his column today.  To Nightengale, nothing is new about the two sides fighting each other:

The owners will be just as livid at the union’s counter-proposal by the end of this week that refuses to reduce their pro-rated salary, perhaps demanding that they play at least 100 games with the regular-season extending into October instead of ending Sept. 27.

Yet, Nightengale believes there will be a compromise.

What will ultimately matter for the players is having their play in 2020 result in a year's service time, something that Nightengale values about $600 million.   Even though the owners speak of losing billions of dollars without fans in attendance, they will want the goodwill in future seasons.  He believes they will ultimately agree, even if it takes a while.  Check out Nightengale's piece for details about the MLB proposal.

But for now it appears there is an impasse.

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