Yesterday, ESPN.com had an interview with Rays pitcher and former Cy Young winner Blake Snell about the proposed shortened season and reduced salary to go with it. He couldn’t have come off as a worse human being.
His comments were tone deaf, selfish, self-serving and greedy. And, as unappetizing as they were, this is where the game is headed as players and owners inch closer to a collusion course with the next Collective Bargaining Agreement.
According to the ESPN.com story, Snell was responding to the proposal MLB put forth to bring baseball back in some form for the 2020 season.
In March, both sides hammered out a deal that would pay players a pro-rated share of their salaries determined by how many games they would end up playing. It’s reportedly MLB sent a proposal for an 82-game season, almost exactly half, with the season starting July 4.
Blake Snell makes $7 million a season. He said, “Playing for a reduced salary isn’t worth it.”
“Bro, I’m risking my life,” Snell said, tapping into his inner privileged frat boy. “It should be a 100% thing. If I’m going to play, I should be getting the money I signed to be getting paid. I should not be getting half of what I’m getting paid because the season’s cut in half, on top of the 33% cut of the half that’s already there. So, I’m really getting like 25%. On top of that, it’s getting taxed. So, imagine how much I’m actually making to play.”
Yes, he actually said that. Why should he make half of what he signed for, even if they are only asking him to play half a season?
Makes sense. Only to a moron.
The deal agreed on in March was, reportedly, with fans in the stands. Knowing that’s not possible, MLB’s proposal sent to the union Tuesday asked for a 50/50 split in revenue rather than a pro-rated revenue payment because playing half a season without fans is a much bigger financial hit than playing half season with them, and they are asking the players to share in the burden, which the players have flat out said they wouldn’t do. No way would they ever agree to revenue sharing, which was the entire basis of the 1994 strike that wiped out the World Series. That is a huge no, even in an emergency situation like this.
So, a nasty fight over dollars is ensuing. And Blake Snell is the poster boy of greed. Sensing he was going to be mercifully skewered in the media for these comments, Snell tried to backtrack and make it a health issue rather than a salary issue. But that just made it worse.
“”I’m just saying, it doesn’t make sense for me to lose all of that money and then go play,” he added. “And then be on lockdown, not around my family, not around the people I love, and getting paid way the hell less—and then the risk of injury runs every time I step on the field.”
Yes, the risk of injury does run every time he steps on the field. Like it did last year when he was injured and he missed a few months of the season and he didn’t pay back the Rays for lost time. They contracted for an entire season but he gave them only 60 percent of one.
And as far as safety goes, major league players will be living in a bubble. They will be tested daily, which is one time per day more than most Americans. They will be pampered and kept away from the virus and live a much safer life than almost anyone else. He won’t be risking his life every time he runs onto a field.
“No, I gotta get my money. I’m not playing unless I get mine, okay?”
Never mind his union negotiated that. Never mind he will be letting down his teammates. In a time when a quarter of Americans are out of jobs, when Americans will be working for reduced salaries and forgoing bonus and every other financial perk, he comes off as a real fool.
So, let him refuse to play. Let him stay home, where he runs the risk of contracting the virus exponentially higher running to the grocery store than he ever would running onto a hermetically sealed baseball field. For no money.
Besides, don’t believe his bluster. The minute his wife says, “Wait, you’re turning down what?” he will be the first player on the field.