The Major League Baseball world is still shut down. Many of its players are forced to swing at a practice facility or at their homes rather than a stadium.
Within that, though, exists a glimmer of hope that a season that looked deferred because of the pandemic, could return. MLB and its owners laid out a plan that could see baseball return by July 4. While that date is still seen as optimistic, it is an idea of what could be. There are health risks, of course, which is why athletes are leaning on health officials.
“Obviously [the league] is talking to a lot of health experts,” Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. said Thursday. “They’re getting some solid information. As long as we know the protocols and abide by them, then I feel pretty safe. You have to almost trust the people that are in that field for a reason.”
Bradley has spent much of his days at his home in Naples, Fla., spending time with his family and remaining in shape. This layoff has given him more time to spend with his wife, Erin, and his daughter, Emerson, yet that doesn’t mean Bradley doesn’t miss baseball.
“You want to get back out there,” Bradley said. “Any athlete, they thrive on competing and competing at the highest level is a great feeling. It’s something that a lot of us always dreamed of doing and we want to continue that as long as possible because we have a short window.”
There is an avenue for baseball to return, however there’s still a huge hurdle it must overcome. In addition to the players’ prorated salaries, MLB proposed a 50-50 revenue split, which could be likened to a salary cap. The 2018 American League Cy Young Award winner, Blake Snell, spoke out against a pay cut Wednesday evening on Twitch.
“I’m not splitting no revenue. I want all mine,” Snell said. “Bro, I’m risking my life. If I’m going to be playing I should be getting money I signed to be getting paid.”
If baseball and the baseball players’ union don’t reach a deal, that would mean no season, it could result in a depressing free agent market, and, perhaps, small-market teams having to file for bankruptcy.
Bradley is brushing shoulders with free agency, where he’ll reach at the end of 2020. He hopes MLB and the union can reach middle ground.
“I’m going to lean on everybody as a whole,” Bradley said. “It’s not going to be an individual thing. We’re going to stick together as a whole and we’re going to let the people who do all the litigation and all the talking handle that business. My main focus is to make sure I’m ready for the season.”