Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart seems confident that baseball will be played in 2020.
There’s still plenty to be done, but Cincinnati Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart is confident that we’ll see baseball this summer. Barnhart, the team’s union representative, in an interview with The Indianapolis Star, said that the players understand the ramifications that could come if the Player’s Association and Major League Baseball are unable to come to an agreement over money.
Regardless of whether you side with the players or the owners, I think we can all agree that no baseball in 2020 is the equivalent of the death knell for Major League Baseball being among the top sports in the United States. The sport is already struggling to keep the attention of younger viewers, and not playing because of economic reasons would cause irreparable damage.
Barnhart seems to feel the same way. While some of the players, including Reds starting pitcher Trevor Bauer, have been more outwardly vocal about opposition to MLB’s first proposal, Barnhart has taken a softer and more professional stance. Barnhart stressed the desire of the player’s union to see documentation proving the impact having no fans will have on the owner:
“The union has sent a document request on, I believe, May 13, asking… to see these documents, basically asking (the owners) to open their books. Not all the way, but in a way that proves that it is not economically feasibly for them to play without fans in the stands because that’s what they’re talking about. And it took them 10 days to respond.”
It looks as though the owners are not negotiating in good faith, something that was touched upon when the MLBPA and MLB agreed to terms on prorated salaries back in March. The economic impact will certainly be felt by both the owners and the players, but when millionaires and billionaires are having a spat over money while 40 million people are out of work, it’s not good optics.
Still, Barnhart believes that the owners and players will eventually come to a compromise. That’s been the overriding sentiment from insiders as well, as Major League Baseball cannot afford to be the only professional sports league that does not return to action following the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s another quote from the Reds catcher via the Indianapolis Star:
“I think we already had kind of a black eye going into spring training with everything that went on with the Astros. This is much bigger. And that’s why I think that we will (play). I think everybody involved understands what’s at stake. The long term effects would be terrible if everybody went off and we didn’t, just because of monetary decisions.”
The agreement between MLBPA and Major League Baseball is up after next season, meaning we’re likely to see more labor disputes between the owners and players. But, for this season, hopefully Tucker Barnhart is correct and the two sides can figure something out.
The hope of late has been that a second-round of spring training could take place in mid-June with the season to open in early-July. The clock is ticking. Hopefully the players and owners come to an agreement very soon.