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MLB to present plan to start season to players' union

Stephen Brashear
The Associated Press
A Ken Griffey Jr. statue sits outside an empty T-Mobile Park, Wednesday, March 11, 2020, in Seattle, where the Seattle Mariners play home games.

Major League Baseball has a new plan to try to start the season amid the coronavirus pandemic. KNKX sports commentator Art Thiel talked about it with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick.

Major League Baseball is expected to present its plan to the Major League Baseball Players Association next week. It reportedly has spring training starting in the teams’ home cities in mid-June with the season starting the first week of July.
“Major League Baseball owners need revenue and players need income," Thiel said. "So they're trying to devise a workable plan.”

“The union's foremost responsibility in this is player health and safety," Thiel said. "So they've got to see a plan that accounts for all sorts of contingencies."

That means owners need to answer the question: what happens if a player tests positive for COVID-19?

“And I don't know if MLB has an answer other than testing, testing, testing daily," Thiel said. "And a lot of people might say, ‘Is that we're our very limited testing kits should go to players playing a non essential game?’”

Thiel said he understands that Major League Baseball has business to run.

“They've got to consider all outcomes, including the optimal one, that the infection rate has dwindled around the country," he said. "But just imagine if you're a player and your team is flying into a city that's had a sudden outbreak, it's become a hotspot. Do you want to go into that city?”


Thiel said there is division within the players' union over the plan.  

“A lot of veteran players who've made a lot of money say, like Mike Trout has, ‘That's really a high risk. I don't think I want to do that.’

“But there's a whole bunch of players, in fact, the vast majority of them who are going to be one, two or three, your guys in the major leagues who can't go without this vital year of a paycheck. And they're going to want to take the risks because they may never get this reward again.

“So the union is a little divided and I think the ownership is a little overly optimistic."


"As much as I'd like to see baseball resume, I think this is really a high-risk maneuver fraught with so many complicating consequences here that I don't know that baseball can pull it off, but I am eager for them to try and I'm eager to see how this proposal plays out with the union next week.”

Never miss an episode again. Subscribe to Sports With Art Thiel with iTunes orGoogle Play now. You can find Art Thiel's work at Sportspress Northwest.

Kirsten Kendrick hosts Morning Edition on KNKX and the sports interview series "Going Deep," talking with folks tied to sports in our region about what drives them — as professionals and people.