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Jim Donovan: Black eye for baseball if owners, union can't reach deal

Team owners on Monday approved MLB’s plan for an 82-game schedule beginning in early July and offered players a 50-50 split of revenues.

CLEVELAND — At the beginning of the week, I got very very excited because it appeared as though we were on the doorstep of Major League Baseball beginning on July 4th. That's what the owners came up with in a plan which they have handed to the players right now.

But can you imagine the excitement of having baseball start their season, and albeit, it's going to a very out of the norm season here in 2020.  But to finally have a live event and have the Indians playing baseball on the holiday of July 4th. Wouldn't it be great if baseball came through and gave us something to celebrate? Maybe a game at Progressive Field? I don't care where it is, just a game! 

But here's the hitch. In the plan presented by the owners to the players, there are two major concerns as they go into a negotiation with the players association.

Number one is the safety along with health. And I totally get that. Players don't want to be quarantined from their families. They're worried about their own health. They're worried about their teammates' health. They're worried about their families health; and I understand that.

But if they got that all right. And the CDC and all the health organizations gave a thumbs up to Major League Baseball to start up its season and then it got halted?  And it got halted because they couldn't agree about money? That would be a major letdown!  And a real black eye to the sport of baseball! 

If all of sudden we got to the point where there was a streamline to play baseball, and they felt it was okay according to all the medical experts, that would be amazing for the sport.

But if its halted because players and owners can't get to together about how much money is going to be paid to the players...Boy, I gotta tell ya, you got to bite your lip and think hard before you lay that out to the public.

Why? Because so many people aren't working right now because of the pandemic. They aren't getting money. They aren't getting any kind of unemployment. They are not even getting their stimulus checks in time. 

People are really struggling!

And baseball players and owners might not be able to get together on salary? How much salary they are going to get to play a game? I mean, wouldn't you just play it this year anyway for the entertainment and the PR factor of giving the sport to people that really need something given to them? Because everything has been taken away from us at least socially. 

I want to take you back to 1994. Do you remember when that thing stopped right around Memorial Day?  I remember the Indians blew out the Chicago White Sox and Dave Winfield blasted a home run into the bleachers at then Jacobs Field. The Indians beat the White Sox and they were only one-game out of first place and surging!  And they were good enough that I think they would have overtaken the White Sox and anyone else in the division.  And probably would have made it the postseason. 

Now they got there in 1995, but in 1994, we were robbed of the remainder of that season.  And there was no World Series.  And remember the start of the season in '95 was delayed all because of......fill in the blank....MONEY.  Money, money, money.

And it really hurt the sport. And its taken a long time for people to forgive baseball and some have never forgiven baseball.

So I would warn the owners and the players to get together.  And if all the health questions are answered in a positive way, and they can play the sport of baseball beginning on July 4th, then forsake the almighty dollar and play baseball. 

For the good of the sport.  And for the good of all of us.

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