Derek Jeter has a rare seat at Major League Baseball’s dysfunctional table.
The Hall-of-Famer turned Miami Marlins part-owner and CEO has been on both sides of Major League Baseball’s negotiating table. So he of all people knows what the broken-down negotiations between the league and players’ union mean for the game.
And it isn’t good — even though we will have baseball this year barring an uncontrollable surge of the coronavirus.
Jeter called the dragged-out talks “disappointing” and “embarrassing at times” for baseball when speaking on “The Line Drive,” a new Marlins talk show on YouTube.
“It was pretty sad to see the back and forth being played out publicly in a time like now. You have so many people filing for unemployment throughout the country. Over 30 million people, 40 million people with no jobs,” Jeter said. “They really don’t want to hear owners and players going back and forth about how much money they deserve and how much money they need.”
Over a month of negotiations could not resolve the compensation philosophy between the league and MLBPA.
The players wanted full prorated salaries in at least a 70-game season after rounds of counter-proposals, but the owners would not do so because of the financial losses expected during a 2020 season that will feature crowd-less games at home stadiums.
“I get it. Look, I was a player. I feel as though players should fight for everything that they feel as though they should have. And I’ll always support them in that sense,” Jeter said. “But, in this particular case, I think some things should have been done behind the scenes. …. There is no winner. It seems like sometimes people are trying to win a PR battle and ultimately it’s going to be the sport that’s going to suffer.”
Without a resolution, commissioner Rob Manfred was forced to implement a 60-game season that would give the players their full prorated salaries.
It doesn’t resolve the situation completely, however, as the shortened season could lead the players to file a grievance against the league. If they were to take that avenue, it will only build already-heightened tensions between the two parties heading into Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations in 2021.
Despite the grim outlook, Jeter is remaining hopeful for the time being.
“I understand that look, there are negotiations and people are going to have a difference of opinion, and that’s fine,” he said. “That happens in every industry. But you just hope that moving forward there is a little trust build and you have some civil negotiations.”
MLB’s shortened season is expected to begin on July 23 with Jeter’s former team, the Yankees, taking on the defending World Series-champion Nationals in Washington, D.C.