Braves players joined in the chorus Monday and Tuesday.
Ozzie Albies on Instagram: “The fans are ready to watch us play, the world is ready to watch us play, the coaches are ready to coach, the players are ready to play, and I’m ready to play. Put a time and a place; we will all be there. Let’s play ball!!!! #when&where”
Ender Inciarte on Instagram: “Tell us when and where (clock emoji) We are ready!”
Mike Soroka on Instagram: “Tell us when and where. We are ready”
Ronald Acuna hasn’t posted since April 4, when he captioned a photo “I JUST WANNA PLAY,” but he did “like” Albies’ post.
Players have stood in solidarity from the beginning. They wouldn’t budge off full prorated pay, and now they’re challenging Manfred to stop leaving everyone in limbo and start the season. Manfred’s threat, however, is proving less likely after the weekend’s developments.
The players decided to put the ball in MLB’s court, inevitably filing a grievance when Manfred implements the shorter-than-desired season. If the commissioner starts a season, it must be under the qualifications that good-faith negotiations took place and the league would schedule as many games as possible; the players reject both those notions.
Manfred, who less than a week ago assured fans on national TV there was a “100 percent” chance of baseball, said Monday on ESPN that he’s now less confident.
In the minds of many, including players, he’s posturing as the calendar runs down and it becomes easier to justify implementing a shorter season. Which is why the players are so adamant about playing ASAP, even initially asking the owners to inform them of their intentions by Monday.
Among Monday’s bombshells: MLB reportedly told the union that it would not start a season unless it agreed to waive a potential grievance. While the grievance would take a lengthy amount of time to resolve, the league would reportedly be facing possible losses exceeding a billions.
If MLB refuses to back down from that position, there are only two outcomes: It reaches a deal with the players for a shortened 2020 season, one with full prorated pay, expanded playoffs, a universal designated hitter and other tweaks. Or the 2020 season is canceled, which is obviously a disaster scenario that’s becoming more conceivable by the tweet.