Ian Happ: 'We Owe It To Everyone' To Play In 2020

"It's not pretty," Happ says of labor talks between MLB owners and players.

Dan Bernstein Show
May 21, 2020 - 11:53 am
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(670 The Score) The hope for MLB owners and players is to hold a 2020 season, but reaching an agreement on a return-to-play framework has proved difficult.

The sides are working through labor negotiations, with the two major issues being health and safety for players as well as the divide of revenue. While the clock is ticking to reach a deal, Cubs outfielder Ian Happ, a team representative for the union, is hopeful an agreement can be reached soon to return to action from the coronavirus pandemic.

"We want to do this together," Happ said on his weekly appearance on the Dan Bernstein Show on Thursday. "We want to do it for the fans. We want to do it for the country. And we want to bring baseball back. That's our goal. I hope and I pray that we can continue to work towards an agreement and we can do it in an ethical and fair way.

"What's happening right now in our game, it's not pretty. I don't think it's what the players, the owners or the fans want right now. There's enough going on in the world. If we can work together and bring back something to the best of our ability and really just to highlight what this game is supposed to be about. It's supposed to be about sportsmanship, it's supposed to be about entertaining people across the country and across the world. 

"I think we owe it to everyone."

MLB hasn't yet sent an official financial proposal to the union, but that could occur by the weekend, Happ said. The league has outlined its health and safety measures in extensive detail. The policy include details such as no hand contact between players, no spitting being allowed, no hydrotherapy or cryotherapy and no showers at team facilities.

Happ believes those proposed rules will ultimately be dialed back.

"To start, it's going to have to be that way," Happ said. "It covers all of our bases to make sure that guys feel comfortable, that we're taking every possible precaution. As restrictions are lifted and as things become a little bit better, I think some of these rules can be relaxed. I do think there are some things in there that we'll have to take a look at, just for player preparation, because it's important that we're not taking away from the product on the field.

"Health and safety extends beyond the virus and what we're talking about in that sense and to players (is) health and safety on the field. You don't want to take away from what guys use for preparation and then get them hurt on the field. We're trying to balance both of those things. We're trying to make sure the proposal not only addresses the coronavirus and COVID concerns but also health and safety on the field for players.

"It being as strict as it is is a good starting point. And then we can always move from there and determine which of those things we can relax from as the entire global perspective kind of loosens up a little bit."