Cowlishaw: 'Snell is Safer on the Mound Than He is in the Grocery Store'

Written by:
Dan Shapiro
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Responding to Tampa Bay Rays pitching ace Blake Snell's rant that he will refuse to play if presented with a pay cut, Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas News writes: "If Blake Snell is the face of the players, Major League Baseball is in big trouble".

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Major League Baseball is asking its players to share in a 50-50 revenue split for the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic, which will shorten the season and exclude spectators. 

“I’m not splittin’ no revenue, I want all mine," the 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner said on a Twitch stream Wednesday. “You’re gonna be like, ‘Bro, play for the love of the game, bro.’ Bro, I’m risking my life. If I get the ‘Rona, guess what happens? I’ve got that for the rest of my life. If I’m playing I should be getting 100 percent what I signed to get paid, know what I’m sayin’?’’ 

"You already accepted a highly restrictive luxury tax," Cowlishaw said of the players. "That’s your salary cap. That’s why Mookie Betts doesn’t play in Fenway Park anymore. And unlike salary cap sports, you don’t even have a floor for the cheap teams. Figure it out."

“For the 2020 season, the important thing to understand is all this is temporary. What’s the harm in being the willing losers of a negotiation that includes half a season? It has no impact on 2021 and beyond. What Snell is missing — maybe a lot, but that’s another story — is that he’s still got his $39 million coming between 2021-23. This for a pitcher who has had one remarkable season and three that were nothing close to it. 

“I don’t want to minimize the risks for anyone in our new world, but with the testing that will be in place for a Major League Baseball season along with the distancing and the absence of fans, Snell’s safer on a pitcher’s mound than he is walking through a crowded grocery store. And he’s a hell of a lot safer on that mound than someone actually working an eight-hour shift in that grocery store.” 

Super agent Scott Boras came out swinging in defense of the players Thursday.

"Of 50-50 split, Boras says players already 'reached an agreement settled by both sides,' the pay structure was 'codified.' And 'they need to work off that foundation.' But 'if you alter the foundation the integrity would be compromised and that's what players would object to.'" 

For fans of the games, sports bettors and bookmakers, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred says he is confident that neither Covid-19 nor a payment squabble will get in the way of the season starting some time in early July.

"Whenever there's a discussion about economics, publicly people tend to characterize it as a fight," Manfred said during an interview Thursday night on CNN. "Me, personally, I have great confidence that we'll reach an agreement with the players association both that it's safe to come back to work and work out the economic issues that need to be resolved." 

If there's no season, losses would be "devastating" for the teams, Manfred added. 

"We're a big business, but we're a seasonal business," Manfred said. "Unfortunately, this crisis began at kind of the low point for us in terms of revenue. We hadn't quite started our season yet, and if we don't play a season the losses for the owners could approach $4 billion." 

Manfred confirmed there will be more than enough testing, contact tracking, and a focus on every logistical issue that could come up.

CBS Sports podcaster David Samson said Friday he doesn’t believe the MLB players are winning. 

"The players are not unified. They don't have one voice. The voice they have is not the right tone or the right content. If you want to deliver a message to the owners and you want to put your side of the story out you do it in an organized way from the head of your union, or from a leader within your way. Of which Blake Snell is not one ... by any stretch." 

By Friday evening it was being reported that MLB’s thirty teams were likely to suspend revenue-sharing for the 2020 season, according to Ken Rosenthal and Even Drellich of The Athletic.

Assuming everything works out, Major League Baseball is looking at a July 4 start, the best case scenario.

- Dan Shapiro, Gambling911.com

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