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Henry Schulman’s belief in MLB hitting target start date ‘is starting to fade a little bit’

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

“I think there will be Major League Baseball in 2020,” The Chronicle’s Henry Schulman said. And then he got to the “but.”

Major League Baseball and the Players Association have been negotiating, trying to find an acceptable pact for both sides that would 1) do its best to protect the players during a pandemic and 2) end the money fight that is currently raging.

The union points to the late March agreement that stipulated players would be paid a pro-rated amount of their contracts depending how many games are played this year. The owners have balked, saying without fans in parks, they would need players to take a further financial hit.

The two sides are continuing to battle as a target date for spring training — June 10 — and a potential start to the season in early July draws close.

“I think these negotiations are going about as well as my negotiations with Scarlett Johansson for a date,” said Schulman, who is not dating her. “It’s not going anywhere. There’s always posturing in these things. They just seem so, so far apart. And now there’s a war of memos going back and forth.

“… It’s getting harder for me to imagine they will be able to come together on a deal for salaries in time to start spring training 2.0 when they want to, which is about three weeks from now.”

The New York Post published a memo Monday that MLB feels could be a smoking gun that suggests the union may have known further financial talks were in order if fans couldn’t be let back in stadiums this season.

The battles are taking place in private and in public without an obvious end in sight.

“Think about the logistics of starting up a spring training,” Schulman told KNBR’s Mark Willard on Tuesday. “The Giants haven’t even decided whether they would have spring training in San Francisco or in Scottsdale, which would be the two choices. It seems now that they could do it in San Francisco if they wanted to. Some teams would do it in their home ballparks. There’s logistics involved in getting all this started. If it takes them until May 30 to reach an agreement — and that’s only what, 11 days away — it’s hard to imagine in 10 more days they’d start a spring training.”

Still, he believes some settlement will be reached. It just will take too much time for the current timetable.

“There’s just too much money at stake,” Schulman said. “Players want to be paid, teams want at least some revenue. My optimism that it would start the Fourth of July is starting to fade a little bit.”


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