Major League Baseball took its first significant step towards bringing baseball back in 2020 when owners approved a plan for the 2020 season. While several hurdles remain before MLB can return, at least one of the league’s top executives is feeling confident about baseball coming back.
New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is acutely aware of the issues that have been caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. But as MLB works towards a return, with the league targeting an Opening Day in July, Cashman offered a reason for hope on Thursday.
“I am optimistic that where there is a will there is a way. We are all in this country trying to find a way to get up and running. We all have found ways to make adjustments,” Cashman said in a Zoom call, via New York Post. It is incumbent on all of us to find a way. I trust all leadership involved will find a way within our industry, just like everybody is trying to do in their respective industries as well. It doesn’t promise anything but am I optimistic? I am optimistic.”
Everyone around baseball wants to return and play out the 2020 MLB season. More than two months after the league suspended operations indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, MLB has slowly worked towards a plan to start the season.
Owners approved a proposal on Monday that would start the 2020 season in early July and play out an 82-game schedule. However, the league needs approval from players and health officials before moving forward.
Among the issues, players are pushing back strongly against an insistence from owners to take further pay cuts. Both sides reached an agreement in March that meant players would receive pro-rated salaries based on the number of games played. However, owners are now asking them to take further cuts to their salary due to teams playing in empty stadiums.
In addition, there concerns from players over MLB’s safety protocols and the risk to their own safety. As Cashman stated, these are two major hurdles that will help decide if a season is played or not.
“I don’t represent the players or the Players Association. There are a lot of hurdles everyone is trying to navigate and certainly finding common ground appropriately with the Players Association is one of them,” Cashman said. “The commissioner of baseball and his team are having honest, frank negotiations with that,”
MLB will need universal approval before it can even move forward with implementing its plan. Given the league wants players to report for spring training by mid-June, the clock is ticking for everything to come together. Despite the concern, Cashman’s optimism will at least provide hope for MLB fans desperate for baseball to return.