After MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred told an ESPN reporter that he isn’t “100 percent certain” that there will be a baseball season in 2020, several Chicago Cubs players blasted the commissioner amid an ongoing dispute over player salaries in a coronavirus-shortened season.
Manfred, in an interview with ESPN’s Mike Greenberg, walked back comments he had made during the MLB Draft, saying that he can’t promise there will be baseball this season:
“Unfortunately, I can’t tell you that I’m 100 percent certain that’s gonna happen,” he said.
Shortly after the comments were made public, several Cubs players blasted the commissioner, including catcher Willson Contreras:
Pitcher Yu Darvish, referencing Manfred’s comments during the draft that he believed there would be a baseball season in 2020, poked fun at the seeming change of heart amid the contentious negotiations:
Cubs infielder Jason Kipnis gave a shoutout to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who is widely regarded as one of the top commissioners in sports:
Pitcher Alec Mills echoed a familiar refrain from players after the MLBPA announced over the weekend that it was through negotiating with owners, and that it wanted the league to set a date for the start of a season:
Under the terms of the deal reached between players and owners earlier this year, the league can establish a start date for a schedule that will pay players a prorated 2020 salary. That agreement gives the league the chance to set whatever date they want to resume, but fears had grown in recent days that if the league opted for a season of fewer than 50 games, the players would have filed a grievance, stating that there was plenty of time for more games and that the league wasn’t acting in good faith.
The owners have made repeated attempts to negotiate down salaries for the coming year, with no fans in the stands and revenues taking big hits because of the coronavirus pandemic, but the players have steadfastly refused to budge from the agreement reached in March.