“I know he said he was taken out of context, but it that was the plan, that’s frustrating; we wanted to play, and we wanted to play as many games as we could, understanding the environment that we were in. It just kind of added fuel to the fire for some players.”
Those are the words of New York Yankees lefty Zack Britton, talking about MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred in an appearance on WFAN’s Moose and Maggie Show Friday afternoon.
Britton joined Moose & Maggie to discuss the MLB/MLBPA negotiations over the 2020 season, among many other topics, and as a Yankees player rep for the MLB Players’ Association, Britton was privy to all of the negotiations leading up to Commissioner’s decision to unilaterally implement a 60-game season, something he referred to multiple times as “frustrating.”
“There wasn’t a lot of progress throughout the whole ordeal, and it took three months to finally agree to the agreement we already agreed to in March,” Britton said. “Very frustrating.”
Britton wasn’t just hard on the commish, though, as he expressed frustration at parties on both sides – players and executives – for airing out every sordid detail of the negotiations, and their grievances, via social media while the world was in the midst of a pandemic.
“I’m never going to tell anybody what they should or shouldn’t say, but to me, considering what was going on around the world, I though these conversations were better kept behind closed doors, and I still do,” Britton said. “There’s leaks on both sides, I do feel like more on MLB’s end initially, and I didn’t like that. I still don’t, but I can’t control players or MLB doing what they want to do to get out a message.”
In that way, Britton agrees with many fans who have expressed on social media their indifference and disdain for the entire process.
“People just don’t want to hear it; fans have told us that loud and clear,” Britton said. “I’ve talked to fans, I’ve read it, and I tend to agree with them.”
That said, never in his mind was there any doubt baseball would be played in some form in 2020.
“Being a part of the talks, I always felt like we were going to play, it was just a matter of when and how much,” Britton said. “Honestly, I think the biggest question among the players was about testing; not just how we were going to keep players tested and healthy, but staff and everyone in the clubhouse. Our biggest concern was keeping everyone involved as safe as possible. I think a lot of teams still have those questions, but the Yankees have been outstanding. I feel like we’re going to go above and beyond protocols to make sure everyone in our organization is safe.”
And, he doesn’t think any potential bad blood from this year’s negotiations will spill over into the forthcoming negotiations as MLB and the Players’ Association get set to hammer out a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
“Both sides were in a unique situation, and everyone was doing the best they could to get baseball back safely,” Britton said. “So, I don’t believe this talks will have an impact on talks with the new CBA.”
Check out Britton's entire segment below, and as always, you can check out more on-demand audio from Moose & Maggie, or tune in every day to the WFAN.com livestream of the show!