Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Wednesday was a significant day in the movement toward baseball's eventual return, when two prominent government officials publicly endorsed the idea of playing in empty stadiums.
Those officials, Dr. Anthony Fauci and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, have generally earned the public trust for their cautious and realistic appraisals of the pandemic. On the same day that Fauci said there was a way forward for sports this year, Cuomo told CNN that he sees that value in resuming Major League Baseball.
The governor then added a line about players taking a pay cut that led to some confusion in the coverage of his comments.
Speaking to his brother, CNN host Chris Cuomo, Gov. Cuomo said that he spoke with Mets COO Jeff Wilpon earlier that day:
"I said why can't we talk about a baseball season with nobody in the stands? Why can't you play the game with the players? I think it would be good for the country. I think it would be good for people to have something to watch and do. To fight cabin fever. I think it's something I'm going to pursue."
Then Cuomo added:
"Apparently Major League Baseball would have to make a deal with the players, because if you have no one in the stands, then the numbers are going to change, right? The economics are going to change. But if Major League Baseball and the players could come into an agreement on how to adjust the economics for that reality, I think that would be a good thing. You know, we have to start to move to normalcy and people have to see some sort of hope and light."
This is where the confusion arose, but it can be easily cleared up. It's long been widely reported that the Players Association will have to agree to a modified compensation structure if play resumes. The union is well aware that this will be part of negotiations.
We can forgive Cuomo for not reading all the reporting on this topic while he's busy dealing with a pandemic, but his use of "apparently" caused a false impression.
Whether the players take a prorated salary, accept temporary pay cuts or some other compromise, this is baked into the understanding of how this process will work.
As SNY reported on Wednesday, the union was surprised last week when details of MLB's plan to play in Arizona leaked to the media.
But the Players Association and the players themselves remain open to this and most other proposals. Bottom line, players want to play. The economics this year will be different for everyone.