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The Union Takes On The League

@lilbrotaylor. provides a timeline of the negotiations between the MLB & the player’s union over the last year.

With the MLBPA planning to reject the owners’ latest offer of delaying the season, it’s looking like baseball may be on time this year. This past year has held more surprises than we ever could’ve fathomed, but perhaps the least surprising of all has been the state of relationship between the MLB & the player’s union. It’s been a long 12 months, so backtrack with me here to get up to speed on the running shitshow that has these two mega entities ready to go to war.


7th – MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark releases a statement that criticizes the MLB’s inability to protect several different players’ medical information during the four-team transaction that sent Mookie Betts to the Dodgers.

27th – Player’s union forces Rob Manfred to grant Astros players immunity in return for full cooperation amid cheating scandal, a move that shines an unappealing public light on the Commissioner.

MARCH 2020

12th – MLBPA releases a new statement which expresses dissatisfaction for the MLB’s apparent lack of urgency & commitment to get a deal done that’ll solidify a 2020 season.

26th – MLB & MLBPA reach agreement on health protocols moving forward (or so they thought…)

APRIL 2020

3rd – Union sets up a support system for the 300+ players who were not included in MLB’s original advanced payment program, an event which angered many players, as they felt like the league was leaving them to fend for themselves.

16th – Disagreements between the league & union concerning salaries for players with no fans gains media traction. The owners, obviously, underselling. 30th – The month ends about as productively as it started with the player’s union rejecting the MLB’s proposal for the 2020 amateur draft.

MAY 2020

12th – MLB presents a new deal with additional health protocols, and receives a disinterested response from the union in return.

19th – MLB offers players an ultimatum: give up the stance of demanding prorated salaries with no fans in the stands, or wait until COVID-19 is over so fans may return. The players stand firm.

21st – MLBPA becomes livid after a private email between the two entities is leaked by the New York Post; they accuse the MLB of attempting to “railroad” players through the media as a negotiation tactic.

26th – MLB submits an initial return-to-play offer to the union, an offer that most players perceive as downright disrespectful.

29th – The players call bullshit on the owners’ cries of financial hardship & go full Jerry McGuire, demanding they SHOW THEM THE MONEY, or at least some clear-cut documentation that could back up the owners’ seemingly outlandish claims. 31st – MLBPA rejects the owners’ original offer, and counters with 114 games fully prorated.

JUNE 2020

3rd – The MLB turns down the union’s counteroffer.

4th – Tony Clark adds additional insight on the situation with a statement that read “the league’s demand for additional concessions was resoundingly rejected” by the players.

15th – Rob Manfred walks back his previous rhetoric & tells ESPN that he’s “not confident” there will be a 2020 season, electing to create the biggest bargaining chip of them all, the sport itself. The MLBPA quickly replied with an official statement that described the players as “disgusted”, accuses Manfred of being a big fat liar, and argues that “this has always been about extracting additional pay cuts from Players… just another bad faith tactic in their ongoing campaign.”

17th – Media reports that MLB & MLBPA are finalizing a deal to play the 2020 season with fully prorated salaries & an extendo playoff format.

18th – MLBPA releases yet another statement, this time to clarify that the Owner’s misunderstood there to be a deal in place, when all that existed was a proposal. Players counter with a 70-game offer.

19th – Tony Clark informs everyone in a MLBPA statement that the MLB has set a hard cap of 60 games for the season.

22nd – With a final vote tally of 33-5, the player’s union elects not to accept a 60-game offer, but insists that they’re ready to play. 24th – Commissioner Manfred, not technically needing the union’s compliance to press start, officially imposes a 60-game schedule to begin on July 23rd.

JULY 2020

13th – MLB & MLBPA reach an agreement on a variety of issues up in the air which concerned individual contracts.

23rd – MLB & MLBPA reach an agreement on an expanded playoff.


27th – The day in which every team staged a walk-off to show solidarity with the BLM protests, Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen gets caught on a hot mic saying that Manfred was trying to get teams to play anyway. “He just doesn’t get it.”


21st – MLB & MLBPA come together to pledge $10M to the Players Alliance to “reinvigorate representation of Black Americans in Baseball, from the youth level to the front office.”

23rd – MLBPA didn’t let the peace last long, as they swiftly denied MLB clubs permission to include 40-man rosters in training camps. This must’ve pissed executives off to high hell because suddenly dudes like Royals GM Dayton Moore were coming out of the woodwork to publicly bash the union’s position. The union’s stance was that the previous agreement was only subject to 2020, and that a new one would need to be drawn up for 2021.


1st – Unlike most years, October was a pretty chill month for baseball in 2020. Besides the union’s hiccup of avidly promoting mid-game on-field interviews only for Ramon Laureano to bless ESPN with a hot F-bomb in the middle of a playoff game, everything was quiet. Both sides reluctant to initiate any movement.


6th – Tony Clark sets the position & expectations for players during the upcoming Winter. He expresses his disdain for the public antics shown by the MLB, and urges players to remain skeptical of claims made by the league. Everything sounds peachy…


9th – Progress between the two forces ramp up & die down more sporadically than a share of AMC. Many of the disagreements were reportedly due to a lack of clarity concerning a universal DH, so I guess these guys were communicating about as well as your divorced parents.

15th – Talks disintegrate even further as the sides become at odds on whether or not to delay the start of the season. Owners want all players vaccinated before coming to training camp, and propose an Opening Day in May. The players, on the other hand, remain hell-bent on playing a full 162-game season.


12th – Manfred tells clubs to prepare for a 162-game season.

25th – Union rejects a previous offer which stood from the MLB that contained a tradeoff: the players get a universal DH, but the owners get an extended playoff. It was the Union’s view that the two should not be linked in negotiations.

29th – It’s not surprising that the MLB, a league that’s governed like a mob operation, would eventually try to make an offer they couldn’t refuse: 154-game schedule, full pay (like it were 162-games), delayed by a month, extended by a week, with an expanded playoff & universal DH.

31st – Nevertheless, the MLBPA rejects the offer, deciding to hold firm on their refusal to link the universal DH & the extended playoff. They were also concerned that the agreement would give the Commissioner expanded authority to shut down the season, ergo, they don’t trust this slimy son of a bitch.

STRIKE… Coming to a league near you!

  • Taylor A. Jackson ( @lilbrotaylor )

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