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‘Optimistic’ Larry Baer: Why this MLB-players fight isn’t like 1994

Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Larry Baer has hope.

The Giants CEO already has seen one season get torn up and believes he won’t see this one be thrown out over squabbles between Major League Baseball and the Players Association.

In 1994, Baer’s ownership group was in its second year and watched as the players went on strike over the collective bargaining agreement. The last game of the season came Aug. 11.

Twenty-six years later, the two sides are warring again as they try to come to a pact that would allow a version of a season to be played during a pandemic.

“I see this very differently than ’94. I’m optimistic,” Baer said on “Murph & Mac” on Wednesday. “I think that was the culmination of a lot of years, a lot of built-up animus on how the industry was structured, etc. Here I think we’re trying to get to a solution in an extraordinary, perhaps the most extreme set of circumstances we’ve had that the game has faced. I have optimism that the Major League Baseball negotiators and the Major League Baseball Players Association negotiators will get to a conclusion to work it out. Comparisons can be made, but I think this is a situation where we’ll get a resolution.”

As Baer pointed out, the two sides already came to one compromise when it became clear Opening Day would be missed. That agreement is at the heart of the negotiations, as the union feels it already agreed to pro-rate contracts for however many games are played, and MLB wants the players to take further cuts because without fans in stands, losses for the owners will mount.

There is time for the talks to continue, as MLB has targeted mid-June for a potential second spring training. Baer, meanwhile, was less optimistic about the prospect of a minor league season happening, though he said nothing is finalized.


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