In the face of the looming international crisis that is taking lives, it feels almost disrespectful to ask questions out loud about issues of far less importance. When the priorities are protective masks, accessible testing and increased hospital capacity, most everything else is deferred, or settled out of sight.
Quietly, Major League Baseball officials and the MLB Players Association are working through a laundry list of pending process questions tied to the calendar. What to do about termination pay for players who don’t make 40-man rosters. The draft. The international signing period.
It’s a good thing that it’s all being done out of sight, because there is little appetite for a public debate about how to resolve service-time questions, arbitration and free-agent eligibility. Not when families are huddled in their homes, concerned about jobs, food, loved ones.
In recent years, the relationship between MLB and the union has been worse than at any time since the mid-1990s, the last time the sport was shut down by a labor stoppage. But as a respected former player said Saturday, moving forward, the sides need each other. Collaboration is required under current circumstances and beyond, because the baseball industry may not look anything like it did at the outset of spring training just more than a month ago.