CHICAGO – There is a plan to get Major League Baseball back on the field at some point this summer, but there are still hurdles to clear.
Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker hopes that the players won’t be one of them.
At the end of his daily COVID-19 briefing, he was critical of the MLBPA’s issues with the finances associated with the restart plan approved by owners on Monday. Union head Tony Clark told The Athletic that they are not in favor of a proposed 50-50 split, and it figures to be a contentious part of the negotiations.
“I must say I’m disappointed in many ways that players are holding out for these very, very high salaries and payments during a time when I think everybody is sacrificing,” said Pritzker when asked about the players taking issue with the salary proposal.
The revenue split, which would replace the current salary structure, figures to receive pushback from the MLBPA since its traditionally used in a salary cap system. That has been something that the union has pushed back against for decades, and was one of the main reasons the players went on a season-ending strike in 1994.
Owners are pushing for it for 2020 since the proposal calls for only half the season games to be played in front of no fans, which cuts off a significant amount of income for the league. Pritzker hopes that the players union can see past that during an extraordinary time for the country and get back on the field safely.
“I realize the players have the right to haggle over their salaries, but we do live in a moment where the people of Illinois and the people of the United States deserve to get their pastime back, to watch anyway on television,” said Pritzker. “If they’re able to come up with safety precautions, as has been suggested by Major League Baseball that works, I hope that the players will understand that the people of our United States need them to recognize that this is an important part of the leisure time that all of us want to have during the summer to watch them play baseball, to root for our favorite teams. We need that back, that normalcy back, and I hope they’ll be reasonable as they negotiated.”