MLB 2020: We're Playing, but We Can't Agree on Anything

Harry Hooper

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In case anyone is interested in ticket refund status, we were supposed to go to Wrigley to see the Sox later this month. I got this from the Cubs today
I am surprised Ricketts could scrape up the funds to send that email out.
 

nattysez

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Ah - the exploding offer. Some might suggest that that particular tactic is best used when you have a smidge more leverage than MLB does. It really feels like the owners' preference is a 50-game season and expanded playoffs, since playoffs are where the real money is.

MLB’s latest proposal gave the union a deadline of Wednesday to reach agreement on a 76-game season. The inference: each few days is going to keep lowering the number of games believed possible by MLB until it gets to that 48-54 range for full prorated salaries.
View: https://twitter.com/Joelsherman1/status/1270054914383917056
 

snowmanny

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So instead of 162 games plus max 12% more games (20) @ full salary, MLB is suggesting 50 games plus max 52% more games (26) for 1/3 salary? Maybe it’s not 26, maybe it’s 24, but I think there’s a proposal for an extra round.

If nothing else if was the MLBPA I would want each playoff series to count as 5 or 6 games worth of full salary for each player involved.
 

EvilEmpire

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I know this has been discussed a bit, but has it been confirmed that the earlier agreement that guaranteed full prorated salaries to players also gives MLB complete control over how many games are played? I'm losing track of where these negotiations have been.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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So instead of 162 games plus max 12% more games (20) @ full salary, MLB is suggesting 50 games plus max 52% more games (26) for 1/3 salary? Maybe it’s not 26, maybe it’s 24, but I think there’s a proposal for an extra round.

If nothing else if was the MLBPA I would want each playoff series to count as 5 or 6 games worth of full salary for each player involved.
Normally, playoff games are not included as part of players' salary. Their final paid day of work is the final game of the regular season. Playoff compensation is entirely in the form of bonuses. That is why owners are reducing the regular season while increasing the post-season at the same time. That's where they make their money.
 

SirPsychoSquints

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I know this has been discussed a bit, but has it been confirmed that the earlier agreement that guaranteed full prorated salaries to players also gives MLB complete control over how many games are played? I'm losing track of where these negotiations have been.
Yes. The commissioner has the unilateral power to say when the season starts and ends.
 

snowmanny

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Normally, playoff games are not included as part of players' salary. Their final paid day of work is the final game of the regular season. Playoff compensation is entirely in the form of bonuses. That is why owners are reducing the regular season while increasing the post-season at the same time. That's where they make their money.
Right. That’s why I am saying that in this case I would demand that playoff games get included in the prorated salaries.

it’s ridiculous to say that we are going to barely have a regular season, and pay you a prorated salary or even less, but then we are going to expand the postseason where you get nothing.

it’s one thing to pay Carlos Correa 162 games worth of salary for say 178 games. It’s another to pay him 50 games worth for 72.

If it’s 50 games then at most the playoffs should be the regular ten team format with the LCS reduced to a best of 5.
 

Harry Hooper

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Expanding the playoffs is defensible in that it can offset some of the quirky inequities of the greatly-shortened regular season. Plus, having to successfully navigate through multiple extended playoff rounds helps get you to a deserving champion (if not the very best team this season). BUT, putting in miniseries in the playoffs just maximizes the chances you get a quite mediocre champion at the end of the tourney.
 

grimshaw

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Expanding the playoffs is defensible in that it can offset some of the quirky inequities of the greatly-shortened regular season. Plus, having to successfully navigate through multiple extended playoff rounds helps get you to a deserving champion (if not the very best team this season). BUT, putting in miniseries in the playoffs just maximizes the chances you get a quite mediocre champion at the end of the tourney.
Largely agree, though in a 50-60 game sample with no inter division match-ups and huge rosters I don't think we'll have any clear picture on which teams were great and which teams were mediocre.

I'm fine with the expanded playoffs as a "one" year test drive thing for that reason. It's obviously a gimmick to get as any eyes as possible on as many meaningful (in this context) games as possible. If the fans love it then it's something to think about down the line.

There was a lot of opposition to the WC game but it's hard to deny those games are a ton of fun and these are mini versions of those.
 

axx

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Largely agree, though in a 50-60 game sample with no inter division match-ups and huge rosters I don't think we'll have any clear picture on which teams were great and which teams were mediocre.

I'm fine with the expanded playoffs as a "one" year test drive thing for that reason. It's obviously a gimmick to get as any eyes as possible on as many meaningful (in this context) games as possible. If the fans love it then it's something to think about down the line.

There was a lot of opposition to the WC game but it's hard to deny those games are a ton of fun and these are mini versions of those.
The expanded playoffs are all about the $$$$ that the owners don't have to share as much with the players.
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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If they're going to have 3 game series, what's the point of having the regular season at all? Might as well draw names out of a hat.
 

Clears Cleaver

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I actually hope the Sox tank whatever season exists. Treat it like extended spring training. The team wouldn't be good anyways. Finish last and get draft capital and reset the luxury tax
 

nattysez

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Manfred is rapidly gaining on Selig as the worst Commissioner of my lifetime. If he fully spits the bit here and they play 50 games with some kind of ridiculous post-season, that'll probably lock him in for me. And that's before he rolls out whatever ridiculous rules changes he has in mind for the future.
 

richgedman'sghost

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Manfred is rapidly gaining on Selig as the worst Commissioner of my lifetime. If he fully spits the bit here and they play 50 games with some kind of ridiculous post-season, that'll probably lock him in for me. And that's before he rolls out whatever ridiculous rules changes he has in mind for the future.
Worse than Bettman? Nobody was worse than John Zieglar... not sure if you follow hockey.. I still think Bowie Kuhn was the worst commissioner in baseball history.
 

EvilEmpire

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Eh. Baseball is poorly positioned with regard to both the timing of the season and the status of the current CBA to deal with a global pandemic.

I dont think it is Manfred's fault that some owners are apparently reluctant to lose money this year.

Hopefully he can salvage some small part of this season. Regardless, he mostly gets a pass from me. I think he was dealt a tougher hand compared to other professional sports leagues.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Eh. Baseball is poorly positioned with regard to both the timing of the season and the status of the current CBA to deal with a global pandemic.

I dont think it is Manfred's fault that some owners are apparently reluctant to lose money this year.

Hopefully he can salvage some small part of this season. Regardless, he mostly gets a pass from me. I think he was dealt a tougher hand compared to other professional sports leagues.
Agreed 100%. The NBA and NHL were near the end of their seasons when it all shut down. Financially they had a lot less to figure out since the majority of the year's salaries were already paid. Re-starting for them is just a matter of deciding the best way to sort out the final few teams to make the post-season since they lost the last few weeks of the regular season.

Even the most optimistic re-start plan (meaning they jump right into it as soon as the government gave the green light to play games) had them opening the season around July 4, which realistically only gave them time for an 80-90 game season unless they wanted the World Series encroaching on Thanksgiving. If they only manage 50-60 games and an expanded playoff, I don't find that particularly objectionable. The only distasteful thing about this is the owners trying to dick around with player salaries.
 

Beale13

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Don't we at this point just have to write off the 2020 baseball season? Regardless of what they do at this point, this is going to be a bastardized season that will produce a deeply asterisked champion.

As a Red Sox fan they can decide this year's champion by throwing darts at a wall for all I care - as long as enough games are played to allow the team to go into 2021 with a reset luxury tax. If they end up having gotten real assets in return for one barely-played season of Mookie, *and* reset their luxury tax, *and* gotten much of Chris Sale's healing done during this season that's going to be looked at as a gimmicky novelty song in the annals of baseball history, 2020 will have been a fantastic success for the team no matter how ridiculous the season format ends up.

Instead of what was expected to be a lost season, the Red Sox will have inadvertently completed a ton of rebuilding in a season that's barely going to count for any team anyway.
 

SirPsychoSquints

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Don't we at this point just have to write off the 2020 baseball season? Regardless of what they do at this point, this is going to be a bastardized season that will produce a deeply asterisked champion.

As a Red Sox fan they can decide this year's champion by throwing darts at a wall for all I care - as long as enough games are played to allow the team to go into 2021 with a reset luxury tax. If they end up having gotten real assets in return for one barely-played season of Mookie, *and* reset their luxury tax, *and* gotten much of Chris Sale's healing done during this season that's going to be looked at as a gimmicky novelty song in the annals of baseball history, 2020 will have been a fantastic success for the team no matter how ridiculous the season format ends up.

Instead of what was expected to be a lost season, the Red Sox will have inadvertently completed a ton of rebuilding in a season that's barely going to count for any team anyway.
I agree with the last two paragraphs, but disagree with the first one. I see no downside to more baseball, of any length, of any peculiarity, if the players agree to do it (if they are comfortable with health/safety and compensation). Hell, make it World Cup style, have round robins followed by knockouts for all I care.
 

Awesome Fossum

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Totally agree. I think everyone agrees that the season isn't going to carry the legitimacy of a normal season. That doesn't mean it's not worth playing. Posnanski advocated for a College World Series type format (which would sort of be perfect, as we're looking at a college-length regular season):

 

Beale13

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I agree with the last two paragraphs, but disagree with the first one. I see no downside to more baseball, of any length, of any peculiarity, if the players agree to do it (if they are comfortable with health/safety and compensation). Hell, make it World Cup style, have round robins followed by knockouts for all I care.
I totally agree. Not only do I not see any downside to whatever they end up deciding to do, the only downside I see is not doing anything and forcing the Red Sox to go through another year of financial austerity. Whatever plan gets the Red Sox a reset luxury tax is a massive positive for the team, no matter how silly it looks.

I guess the one thing I don't understand in this thread is the sentiment that it might be better to just scrap the whole season if the plan doesn't get us close enough to a season that feels somewhat normal. That ship has sailed, and unless you're not a Red Sox fan, scrapping the season has no upside.
 

BaseballJones

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Don't we at this point just have to write off the 2020 baseball season? Regardless of what they do at this point, this is going to be a bastardized season that will produce a deeply asterisked champion.

As a Red Sox fan they can decide this year's champion by throwing darts at a wall for all I care - as long as enough games are played to allow the team to go into 2021 with a reset luxury tax. If they end up having gotten real assets in return for one barely-played season of Mookie, *and* reset their luxury tax, *and* gotten much of Chris Sale's healing done during this season that's going to be looked at as a gimmicky novelty song in the annals of baseball history, 2020 will have been a fantastic success for the team no matter how ridiculous the season format ends up.

Instead of what was expected to be a lost season, the Red Sox will have inadvertently completed a ton of rebuilding in a season that's barely going to count for any team anyway.
I agree with @SirPsychoSquints - I don't want to scrap the season. But also I think this could end up being a dream scenario for the Red Sox for all the reasons you mentioned. Sale gets needed surgery that costs him as little actual baseball time as possible, resetting the luxury tax, getting assets for Mookie....and the cost being one bizarre pandemic gimmick season where, let's be honest, if they go to some sort of weird format, the Sox actually still have a chance?

Other than the world going completely to hell, the Sox couldn't have drawn it up better than this.
 

grimshaw

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I'm really curious how arbitration will work in 2021 You can actually cut a players salary by up to 20% It's not going to happen, but it's something owners could collude about by crying poverty.

If the players don't cave they are killing themselves for the off season by not establishing any arbitration/free agent value other than getting a year older. They really need to play as many games as possible regardless of the owners shitty offers.
 

snowmanny

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I actually hope the Sox tank whatever season exists. Treat it like extended spring training. The team wouldn't be good anyways. Finish last and get draft capital and reset the luxury tax
The fact that it is somewhat of a crapshoot season is literally the worst reason to tank.

“They wouldn’t be good anyways” when they are probably a playoff team in a year when a just fairly ok team might win the whole thing.. ...is.....an odd comment.
 

Clears Cleaver

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The fact that it is somewhat of a crapshoot season is literally the worst reason to tank.

“They wouldn’t be good anyways” when they are probably a playoff team in a year when a just fairly ok team might win the whole thing.. ...is.....an odd comment.
no, it isn't. This season you need tons of depth along the pitching staff. The Sox have like four major league caliber pitchers capable of pitching more than an inning effectively. Tank city. It's ok to go 0-48. Who would really care? Get the first pick. reset the luxury tax.
 

tims4wins

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no, it isn't. This season you need tons of depth along the pitching staff. The Sox have like four major league caliber pitchers capable of pitching more than an inning effectively. Tank city. It's ok to go 0-48. Who would really care? Get the first pick. reset the luxury tax.
With no fans it’s not like tanking will affect attendance.

To quote the legendary Peter Venkman - I love this plan, I’m excited to be a part of it!
 

SemperFidelisSox

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“In the end, the players say no matter how long the season is, we want our full pro rata.” Passan on Sportcenter just now. He thinks they will get it, just a question of over 70 games or over 48 games.
 

jon abbey

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I think if it is 48 games, the players will not agree to the extra round of playoffs, that is their leverage.
 

The Gray Eagle

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The owners and players will never come to any kind of agreement unless and until the title of this thread is updated.
 

nattysez

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LA Times reporting that the season is starting July 10 (which seems aggressively soon -- are they just assuming that all of the players, especially the pitchers, have been working out all this time?). They just need to determine how many games will be played.
 

HriniakPosterChild

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Seattle Times columnist Larry Stone has some thoughts on this.

In trying to stem coronavirus-shutdown losses, myopic MLB owners have damaged the sport’s soul

There’s blame to be meted out, of course, and I put the lion’s share on the owners. To borrow a much-used phrase, they are trying to socialize their losses after being perfectly content to privatize their gains. They have employed a divide-and-conquer strategy that ignores the fact that the people they are trying to divide and conquer are also their product — the ones they will ask their fans to embrace when this is all over. It’s as if Nabisco embarked on a campaign to paint Oreos as mushy and ill-tasting — and then expected consumers to pick up a few cartons.
The players are holding firmly to the fact they already negotiated an agreement to have their salary prorated over the season, however long it turns out to be. The owners are trying to impose cuts well beyond that, on the grounds that the financial losses for games in fan-free stadiums will be “biblical,” in the words of Cubs owner Tom Ricketts.
Excuse me for having trouble summoning much sympathy for the cash-flow problems of a man whose family’s net worth was pegged at $1.8 billion by Forbes, and who has control of one of the flagship franchises in all of pro sports. I’m reminded of the declaration that then-Blue Jays president (and later president and COO of MLB) Paul Beeston regretted ever saying: “I can turn a $4 million profit into a $2 million loss and get every national accounting firm to agree with me.”
 

jon abbey

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Larry Stone almost has it there, but he needs to go one step further. The part the press should be talking about is that the owners are actually hurting the long-term value of their assets here over relatively measly amounts, maybe knocking hundreds of millions of estimated value off franchises which may never fully return. Nothing billionaires hate to read more than that, maybe that will get them off their asses.
 

jon abbey

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Oh he does say that, he even uses the same phrase I used here a few weeks ago, heh.

"But what about the loss in franchise value that will accrue when everyone turns away from baseball in utter revulsion over this impasse? The phrase “Penny wise, pound foolish” comes to mind."

Pennywise and pound foolish, they can save money year to year but IMO it is putting the value of their clubs at serious risk (longer-term) and deeply endangering the sport. It seems quite stupid to me.
 

axx

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LA Times reporting that the season is starting July 10 (which seems aggressively soon -- are they just assuming that all of the players, especially the pitchers, have been working out all this time?). They just need to determine how many games will be played.
Guessing this means that if nothing is agreed to by the end of the weekend, the negotiations will end and either the season will be cancelled or the owners will force the 50 game season and we'll see if the players agree to play.
 

BaseballJones

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LA Times reporting that the season is starting July 10 (which seems aggressively soon -- are they just assuming that all of the players, especially the pitchers, have been working out all this time?). They just need to determine how many games will be played.
The players SHOULD have been working out all this time. They're professionals. This is their job, their livelihood. If they haven't been, shame on them.

Maybe I've missed it, but what's the players' argument against a 50-game season (assume all 50 games' pay is pro-rated)? I know it's weird, but what in the world ISN'T weird right now? Playing in front of no fans will be weird. Playing in a centralized location will be weird. Everything about it will be weird. But wouldn't they rather get paid for 50 games than for no games? Wouldn't they rather play SOME baseball (I presume they still love the sport, right?) than NO baseball?
 

Section30

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I have moved to the position that they shouldn't play this season. If Covid-19 gets spread through a teams locker room it can affect the players for the rest of their careers/lives.

How would they handle a player refusing to play because they have a vulnerable family member?
If I was a player I would push the owners to be present for every game and take on the same health risks as the players. This would certainly change the dynamic of the negotiations.

 

axx

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I have moved to the position that they shouldn't play this season. If Covid-19 gets spread through a teams locker room it can affect the players for the rest of their careers/lives.

How would they handle a player refusing to play because they have a vulnerable family member?
If I was a player I would push the owners to be present for every game and take on the same health risks as the players. This would certainly change the dynamic of the negotiations.

They are going to let players opt out of playing the season, if there is one. The player wouldn't get paid or get any service time though.
 

SirPsychoSquints

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The players SHOULD have been working out all this time. They're professionals. This is their job, their livelihood. If they haven't been, shame on them.

Maybe I've missed it, but what's the players' argument against a 50-game season (assume all 50 games' pay is pro-rated)? I know it's weird, but what in the world ISN'T weird right now? Playing in front of no fans will be weird. Playing in a centralized location will be weird. Everything about it will be weird. But wouldn't they rather get paid for 50 games than for no games? Wouldn't they rather play SOME baseball (I presume they still love the sport, right?) than NO baseball?
They don't have an argument against a 50 game season. They have an argument against reducing their per-game salary. The owners are the ones trying to negotiate something different than the current agreement - they want expanded playoffs. In exchange for this, the players are offering a longer season (at the same per-game salary, which would increase their income).
 

Monbonthbump

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I agree that the year should be scrubbed. The protests without proper social distancing virtually assured the COVID-19 virus cases will increase over the summer months. I'm already beginning to worry about college basketball season and Christmas gatherings.
 

BaseballJones

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They don't have an argument against a 50 game season. They have an argument against reducing their per-game salary. The owners are the ones trying to negotiate something different than the current agreement - they want expanded playoffs. In exchange for this, the players are offering a longer season (at the same per-game salary, which would increase their income).
Why wouldn't the players be ok with expanded playoffs? That means more players have a shot at winning a championship and it means more money (playoff shares). Unless the owners are looking to have expanded playoffs and not pay the players for it. Clearly I'm not understanding all this, which is fine. I'll just wait to see what happens.
 

axx

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Why wouldn't the players be ok with expanded playoffs? That means more players have a shot at winning a championship and it means more money (playoff shares). Unless the owners are looking to have expanded playoffs and not pay the players for it. Clearly I'm not understanding all this, which is fine. I'll just wait to see what happens.
Players don't get anywhere near the normal paychecks during the playoffs.
 

SirPsychoSquints

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Why wouldn't the players be ok with expanded playoffs? That means more players have a shot at winning a championship and it means more money (playoff shares). Unless the owners are looking to have expanded playoffs and not pay the players for it. Clearly I'm not understanding all this, which is fine. I'll just wait to see what happens.
Players don't get anywhere near the normal paychecks during the playoffs.
Right. The owners want expanded playoffs to increase their revenue, but they don't want more regular season games to increase the players' income.

Current agreement is commissioner can determine how many games, players get salary per-game, playoffs are same as every year. To change any of this, the owners and players need to agree. If the owners want to get something extra, they have to give the players something extra.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Players don't get anywhere near the normal paychecks during the playoffs.
Players don't get paychecks during the playoffs, period. They earn a share of post-season bonuses. That can be a hefty chunk of change (a full individual share for the Nationals last year was roughly $382K. That's the biggest share there's ever been. And obviously the shares are smaller for the teams that don't advance. It's a respectable chunk of change, but not necessarily significant to guys making eight figures per season in salary.

The rub is how the bonuses are derived. The players' bonus pools are derived from 50% of the gate for wildcard games, and 60% of the gate in subsequent series. Also, for series, only the minimum number of games are used...3 for the LDS, 4 for LCS and WS...so if a series goes more than the minimum, the owners get 100% of the gate on those games (so no player has ever been paid for a Game 7). If there are no fans, there's no gate.
 

SirPsychoSquints

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Players don't get paychecks during the playoffs, period. They earn a share of post-season bonuses. That can be a hefty chunk of change (a full individual share for the Nationals last year was roughly $382K. That's the biggest share there's ever been. And obviously the shares are smaller for the teams that don't advance. It's a respectable chunk of change, but not necessarily significant to guys making eight figures per season in salary.

The rub is how the bonuses are derived. The players' bonus pools are derived from 50% of the gate for wildcard games, and 60% of the gate in subsequent series. Also, for series, only the minimum number of games are used...3 for the LDS, 4 for LCS and WS...so if a series goes more than the minimum, the owners get 100% of the gate on those games (so no player has ever been paid for a Game 7). If there are no fans, there's no gate.
To state the obvious, this is so players don't have an incentive to elongate a series. Black Sox stuff.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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To state the obvious, this is so players don't have an incentive to elongate a series. Black Sox stuff.
Absolutely.

Presumably, even without fans, they'll come to some agreement on bonus pools for each level of the post-season. But still, the owners proposing 3-game series for the early rounds doesn't really suggest that the bonuses just for reaching the post-season will be that noteworthy. So the "oh, more teams get in so more players get post-season bonuses" argument for a shorter season kinda rings hollow. Sure, more get a crack at the bonuses but the bonuses aren't likely to be equivalent to another 20-30 games worth of regular season salary for most players.