While Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez might have ended their bid to buy the New York Mets, the former MLB star delivered a message for players on Friday that team owners will undoubtedly love. As players and owners discuss a plan to start the MLB season in July, Rodriguez has thrown the gauntlet down at his former peers.
In a video posted Friday night, Rodriguez called upon players to accept the 50-50 split of MLB’s revenue offered by MLB this week. He also encouraged both sides to put their differences aside and fill the fans’ starvation for baseball by agreeing to a deal to start the season in July.
“It is the people’s comfort food and people are starving. I just don’t want to see this great game, people fighting, billionaires fighting with millionaires. This has nothing to do with the past, this has nothing to do with the strike,” Rodriguez said. “This is actually when the owners and players are aligned and we want the same thing. We want to save baseball. We want to play baseball. Players want to play fans want to watch. At the end of the day, if you don’t play today, you don’t win tomorrow, because hopefully, we don’t have another situation like this. This is like beyond anything we’ve ever seen before.”
MLB owners and the players’ union started discussing the league’s proposal to start the MLB season in July. Among the hurdles that lie ahead before baseball can return, players have expressed significant concerns about the safety conditions and protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Of course, MLB players are also pushing against the desire from ownership to split the league’s 2020 revenue evenly. As Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Blake Snell argued players already agreed to a deal with MLB in March to take prorated salaries based on the number of games played.
Under MLB’s current plan, the league would have an 82-game regular season. However, because games will be played without fans, owners are demanding that players take a more significant pay reduction by getting 50% of MLB’s revenue. It’s an offer that Rodriguez clearly believes the players should take just to make the fans happy.
“I just urge the players and the owners to think collectively,” Rodriguez said. “If there’s $100 in the pie, like the NBA, players take $50, owners take $50 and we give it to the fans. We thank the fans of baseball.”
It’s worth noting, Rodriguez made more than $450 million in his salary across his MLB career. He never had to agree to take a pay cut, although the New York Yankees certainly would have loved if he did near the end of his career.
Rodriguez’s stance likely won’t do him any favors with current players around the league, but it might win him some points with MLB owners. Given his open desire to run an MLB team one day, perhaps he is thinking ahead by looking to win over some early favor.