Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |
The players want to play. The owners want to earn. A round of calls to sources reveals that everyone is surprisingly calm behind the scenes, and the PR/social media war is mostly kabuki.
For these reasons and more, Tuesday's dust-up did nothing to change the industry expectation that MLB will launch its season in July.
When we did our rounds of asking for reaction on the player/agent side on Tuesday and Wednesday after the owners proposed steep cuts for top earning players, we received a number of virtual shrugs.
"Unsurprising," texted one agent, in a typical response.
This is a contrast to the more heated online reaction of some players and agents. Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman tweeted that the season was "not looking promising." He wasn't alone in exercising his rights to say whatever he wanted about MLB's opening pitch.
But behind the scenes, players are calmly discussing a first shot that they essentially saw coming, and deciding how to respond (the Players' Association isn't tipping the details of how it will counter just yet).
Most players and agents know that they will have to sacrifice something in order to play. Perhaps they will agree to a much less punishing sliding scale of salary cuts. Perhaps they will accept deferred payments to their prorated salaries, as SNY reported last week was a possibility.
The bottom line: Both sides want a season. Expect more rattling of sabers in public over the next several days, while the union lawyers quietly craft a response. By the weekend, the sides could be working hard on their negotiation, and finding compromises and givebacks that facilitate an agreement.
Remember: No player wants to lose a season of his short career. And no owner wants to lose to a year of TV revenue. The sides remain highly motivated to make it work.