James McCann: MLB, union fight should've focused on coronavirus pandemic


Why did it take so long for MLB players and owners to get to a 2020 baseball season? And why did their battle get so ugly?

Though we’re living in complex times, White Sox catcher James McCann came up with a simple answer.

“In my opinion, our biggest fight should have been the virus, not the economical stuff. The virus, up to this point, it’s undefeated. Our biggest enemy is actually a common enemy. Unfortunately, the two sides didn’t seem to get together on that part,” McCann said on the White Sox Talk Podcast.

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As the White Sox union representative, McCann heard the opinions and concerns about the labor situation from many of his teammates, as well as from union reps around the league. As confusing and frustrating as things became over the last three months, McCann kept going back to the reason why spring training ended abruptly back in March: the pandemic.

“I never thought that the struggle of economics was going to keep us from playing a season and that’s part of my frustration with the way that everything was handled. I don’t think anyone ever thought that was going to hold us back from playing. It’s the virus that we can’t control. It’s the virus that we don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s the virus that put us in this situation in the first place,” McCann said.

RELATED: MLB during coronavirus pandemic: Season still faces hurdles to finishing

And now with cases increasing around the country — and several players from the Phillies, Rockies and Blue Jays testing positive — McCann’s concerns about playing baseball during pandemic have suddenly increased.

“It’s scary that if we would have had this conversation a week ago, we didn’t have positive tests from the Phillies yet, we didn’t have a positive test from (Rockies outfielder Charlie) Blackmon, I would have thought ... we’re good to go. But it’s crazy how one week's worth of time can change (things). It’s such a fluid situation. There’s so many things happening across the nation right now. You just don’t know.

“Our focus should have been on: How do we get guys back to camp, and how do we get guys playing baseball, and then how do we stay safe? That should have been what everyone was worried about. That should have been at the forefront of the media, and all the economic struggles should have been taken care of in a closed room where only those privy to that information were aware of it.

“Because at the end of the day, the fans and the players and the owners are really on the same side. We all want to see baseball.”

Listen to the entire interview with McCann on the latest edition of the White Sox Talk Podcast.


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