SPANISH HARLEM – Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association have had their eye(s) on returning in late July and while both have made strides to get back on the field, there is still much work to be done. I have faith that both leagues will come to an agreement but how different will it look, as changes are made to the normal format, is still up in the air. For one it’s about money and for the other, we have ideas of what the playoffs will look like when games begin.
The initial proposal by the MLB owners to their players did not go well to say the least. Baseball player’s union is one of the strongest in sports and they will continue to fight for what their players deserve. The owners have suggested a plan where some of the richest contracts would be hit the harshest, with having lower-salaried players making closer to what they would normally get. The best players in baseball have worked hard to get the contracts they received and don’t want to give too much back, as many of them signed those contracts expecting to be fully compensated.
I find it disappointing the owners would go with a low-ball offer like that, knowing players would immediately reject it. I understand it’s the first proposal – and not meant to be the only proposal – but they had to know that the media would leak that information and make them look bad. These owners are smart men (or so I thought) and to allow that proposal to be their initial one was staggering. I won’t sit here and say I fully comprehend the circumstances of the situation everyone is going through but the attempt was truly wrong on the owners part.
On the NBA side, we have a destination where teams will converge – if and when the games start. Nothing like Disney World to make things interesting! But it doesn’t stop there. The commissioner of the NBA, Adam Silver, has suggested a new playoff format similar to what we see in the Soccer World Cup. The idea is to have 4 groups stages with teams who come out of that format then playing the normal 7 game series that we are accustomed to. I believe once the season starts, it will be the beginning of the playoffs with no regular season games being played. I applaud the NBA for thinking outside the box to get more teams involved and allowing other teams to see some revenue. The players want some warm up games before jumping into the playoffs but I just don’t see it happening.
Why have teams that don’t have a shot of making the playoffs play games in empty arenas for nothing? I would suggest allowing NBA teams to scrimmage against G-League teams to add some intensity.. There is really no way for players to get in true game shape because of the time off and I’m sure guys will try their best not to get injured before the playoffs start, so there won’t be hard-fought games. But it gives everyone involved a way to mimic real-game scenarios. Personally, I like the original playoff format best and it allows the teams that worked hard for a playoff shot to actually make it. On the other hand, I’m down for whatever they decide to do, so that I can finally watch basketball again.
Speaking of watching again, come back tomorrow for Different Matt, who will hopefully talk about the NHL – a sport I always forget to mention.