How much will money matter in baseball's plan to get game going again?
Nothing has been easy during the coronavirus pandemic.
The past two months have been a struggle for every segment of society, and more imposing challenges are coming in the days, weeks and months ahead.
Major-league baseball is not immune from that stark reality, so it is foolish to think getting the game back on the field is going to be accomplished with a wave of the hand.
With that in mind, major-league owners are anxious to resume baseball, and they've come up with a plan that is wisely flexible but far from firm on the financial side.
Highlights include starting a new spring training in mid-June and opening an abbreviated regular season in early July, most likely without fans for an extended period.
The season ideally would be at least 82 games and played under the regular setup, the National League and American League with three divisions each.
An earlier proposal had three leagues (East, Central, West) with 10 teams each.
USA Today reported owners have agreed to expand the postseason from 10 teams to 14 teams, adding an extra wild-card round.
Owners also agreed on using a universal designated hitter, and rosters will be expanded from 26 to 30. Teams also will have a 20-man taxi squad comprised of minor-league prospects.
In addition to making sure there is adequate testing and players and other team personnel are as safe as possible, coming to a financial agreement is the biggest hurdle that needs to be cleared before baseball can return.
On the latter front, there already was some animosity on the players' side before negotiations began Tuesday. No agreement was reached, and it could be days or weeks before a deal is struck.
The other option? Major League Baseball is shelved until 2021.
Representatives from the Major League Players Association reportedly were in listening mode Tuesday, and owners did not present their financial plan.
On Monday, USA Today reported owners want players to share revenues from the upcoming season, with the split coming in around 50/50.
In late March, the two sides agreed to prorated salaries for any games played this season.
MLPA executive director Tony Clark has balked at agreeing to revenue sharing, calling it a "salary cap." Agent Scott Boras also balked.
"The players I represent are unified in that they reached an agreement and they sacrificed anywhere from 30 to 40% of their salaries so that the games could amicably continue," Boras told Sports Illustrated. "The owners represented during that negotiation that they could operate without fans in the ballpark. Based on that, we reached an agreement and there will not be a renegotiation of that agreement."
The beginning of negotiations often are contentious, especially in major-league baseball.
Stay tuned with how they proceed from here, and there is some time to hash out a deal with spring training Pt. 2 still more than three weeks away.
Asked about the Cubs and White Sox returning to play in Chicago this summer, Gov. J.B. Pritzker had a strong reaction.
"I must say I'm disappointed in many ways that players are holding out for these very, very high salaries and payments during a time when I think everybody is sacrificing," Pritzker said. "I realize the players have the right to haggle over their salaries, but we do live in a moment where the people of Illinois and the people of the United States deserve to get their pastime back, to watch anyway on television.
"If they're able to come up with safety precautions, as has been suggested by Major League Baseball that works, I hope that the players will understand that the people of our United States need them to recognize that this is an important part of the leisure time that all of us want to have during the summer, to watch them play baseball, to root for our favorite teams. We need that back, that normalcy back, and I hope they'll be reasonable as they negotiated."