AP source: No MLB economic plan in 1st session with players

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Grounds crew members mow as work continues to keep the Seattle Mariners' field in playing shape as the ballpark goes into its seventh week without baseball played because of the coronavirus outbreak, Monday, May 11, 2020, in Seattle. A person familiar with the decision tells The Associated Press that Major League Baseball owners have given the go-ahead to making a proposal to the players' union that could lead to the coronavirus-delayed season starting around the Fourth of July weekend in ballparks without fans. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

NEW YORK – Major League Baseball did not include an economic proposal during its opening presentation to the players' union on terms to start the coronavirus-delayed season.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker criticized big leaguers for not being willing to cut pay further at a news conference on Tuesday, and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said his state is open to games without spectators for all the major sports starting Saturday.

The electronic meeting of MLB and the players' association lasted between three and four hours and consisted of baseball officials explaining their view of the economics, science and logistics of getting the season under way, several people familiar with the session told The Associated Press. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because no details were announced.

Owners gave the go-ahead Monday for a proposal that players receive the percentage of their 2020 salaries based on a 50-50 split of revenues MLB receives during the regular season and postseason, a person familiar with that plan told the AP. That person also spoke on condition of anonymity because the plan was not announced.

The concept would cut the expenses of teams worried about playing in empty ballparks due to the pandemic. The union views revenue sharing as a salary cap, which it has said it will never agree to, and the concept was not presented.

If empty stadiums or neutral sites are used, an agreement with the players’ association is needed to play ball.

Opening day was to have been March 26. MLB's plan could lead to the season starting around the Fourth of July with an 82-game regular season, playoffs expanding from 10 teams to 14 and the designated hitter used for the first time in games between National League teams.

MLB officials showed slides during the meeting and the union delegation, which included players, caucused and asked questions. Baseball officials explained how they would use a lab in Utah to give the sport its own testing ability, the people said.