MLB is just stalling for a shorter season

Bill Shanks

Let's be honest. Let's be frank about this.

Both sides - the players and the owners - are just full of crap. That's not normal talk for a respectable website like we are trying to have here, but it is just appropriate since it's true.

Monday's comments by commissioner Rob Manfred were shocking. It should not be a shock anymore. Considering the year we are having, why should we be shocked at anything?

But for the commissioner of the sport to admit what is happening under his watch is a disaster tells you all you need to know about his leadership. He can talk all day long about his desire for communication and good-faith negotiating, but how can he say that with a straight face knowing he hasn't even sat down in front of Tony Clark to try and work this out.

We've heard so many people say, "Lock them in a room and figure this damn thing out." But what hasn't someone in charge said the same thing?

To me, Manfred's comments Monday were part of his stall tactics. The owners do not want to play more than 50-something games. They do not want to pay the players more than necessary, and the only way to guarantee that is to have a shorter segment.

The owners also believe a drop-dead date to end a regular season is September 27. So, let's back up the calendar a bit.

That would be 27 days in September. There are 31 days in August, so that's 58 days to play, let's say, 52 games. They could have double-headers, and they probably will. But let's not have that in our equation for now.

If they started the regular season on Monday, August 3, they'd have 56 days to play 52 games. That would guarantee four days off, and again, with double-headers, even two per team, that could provide six days off and that would probably be sufficient.

The players would need at least three weeks of spring training. So, that means it would have to start the weekend of July 11 or so. 

They will require a 10-day prep time for testing and facility management, so we are basically talking about a date of July 1 when the two sides would either have to reach some sort of agreement or the commissioner would have to demand this sort of season be played.

There are pros and cons on both sides. Both sides are to blame. But when you sort through all of this, the bottom line is the owners do not want to play 70-something games. 

And, therefore, the longer they stall, the better. Today is not that important. If they are still in the same situation they are in today three weeks from now, we're in trouble. 

Meanwhile, the fans don't care. We just want baseball. And we are waiting.

Listen to The Bill Shanks Show weekdays at 3:00 p.m. ET on Middle Georgia’s ESPN. You can listen online at TheSuperStations.com. Follow Bill on Twitter at @billshanks and you can email him at thebillshanksshow@yahoo.com.

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