Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred is apparently tired of the back and forth between the owners and the players as they attempt to reach an agreement on how to start the 2020 season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"This needs to be over," Manfred said Thursday, per ESPN. "Until I speak with owners, I can't give you a firm deadline."
The comment comes after MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark released a statement about the players' latest proposal and said, "We believe this offer represents the basis for an agreement on a resumption of play."
ESPN's Jeff Passan reported on the details of that now-rejected proposal that includes a 70-game schedule from July 19 through Sept. 30, full prorated salaries, expanded playoffs for the next two years, $10 million for social justice causes, universal designated hitters and a waiver of a potential grievance filed against the owners for not honoring the March agreement.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported the owners' latest proposal was for 60 games starting on July 19 or 20, full prorated salaries, expanded playoffs the next two years and the waiving of a potential grievance.
Those plans don't seem that far off, and Passan suggested there is "optimism there will be a season" even with the owners rejecting the players' proposal.
According to the ESPN report, Manfred said of a meeting with Clark, "We shook hands and we both agreed we were going to—push was the word—push our sides to reach an agreement consistent with that framework."
However, Clark said the number of games is important, adding, "It is unequivocally false to suggest that any tentative agreement or other agreement was reached in that meeting. In fact, in conversations within the last 24 hours, Rob invited a counterproposal for more games that he would take back to the owners. We submitted that counterproposal today."
The players' proposal calls for the season to end on Sept. 30, three days later than the owners' proposal.
When arguing the season should not go well into the fall, Manfred pointed to caution from Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who told Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times that baseball should not go into October.