Words and stances are trickling out here and there.
What neither statement did was resolve or improve the current labor fight between Major League Baseball and the MLBPA. No season start is within sight. The problems which existed four weeks ago -- or longer -- exist today.
"There's social unrest in our country amid a global pandemic. Baseball won't solve these problems, but maybe it could help," Doolittle began. "We've been staying ready & we proposed 114 games -- to protect the integrity of the game, to give back to our fans and cities and because we want to play."
"It's frustrating to have a public labor dispute when there's so much hardship. I hate it. But we have an obligation to future players to do right by them. We want to play. We also have to make sure that future players won't be paying for any concessions we make."
"There's also still health concerns that need to be addressed…"
Doolittle linked to a New York Daily News article about the disconnect between the league and city or county health officials who have not seen MLB's health protocol proposal. He also mentioned the prospect of players having to sign waivers.
So, let's start where he did. The concept of baseball helping to mollify those marching in the streets in the last week seems a stretch.
From the start of the pandemic, baseball presented itself as part of the country's coming recovery. Commissioner Rob Manfred offered the idea almost immediately. Mike Rizzo, among others, echoed the sentiment. However, the social current has shifted since then. Baseball -- never a leader in race relations -- can be viewed with larger shrugs than before. The societal focal point is no longer being antsy from quarantine. Much more is happening. Would baseball's return hurt? No. Will it be a seminal moment like Mike Piazza's post-9/11 homer? No.
Everyone will agree with Doolittle's frustration around the public grousing this dispute has delivered.
But, it's interesting, if not eyebrow-raising, to hear him mention future players. That suggests the players are looking at this as a slippery-slope situation. Not, "Let's make a deal for 2020's strange circumstances, then move to the large labor fight." Little of the back-and-forth in proposals has an impact on 2021 or beyond (expanded playoffs and the universal DH, two things likely to happen anyway, come to mind). Hearing more specifics on this would help clarify the players' positions. As is, it just sounds like yet another deterrent for a season coming together in 2020.
Last is what has become a forgotten element: health. The topic has rarely been discussed since the league delivered a 67-page health protocol May 16, almost a month ago. That document was full of ideas and holes. There's more work to be done.
So, Doolittle's tweets are on-point, question-raising and concerning.
The season remains a distant thought, and we keep being reminded of that on social media.
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