Tuesday, June 16th, 2020


“There has to be a season at this point because the alternative of no season is so catastrophic to the future of the sport.” – Jeff Passan on MLB

“It was phenomenal to see live golf on television again…I thought the players handled it beautifully.” – Justin Leonard on golf’s return at the Charles Schwab Challenge

“What will be remembered of baseball will be the Astros scandal and how the owners tried to take financial advantage of a pandemic.” – Keith Olbermann on how it will be remembered if there is no MLB season

STAMFORD, Conn. – June 16, 2020 – Host Rich Eisen was joined on today’s episode of The Rich Eisen Show on NBCSN by:

    • ESPN MLB insider Jeff Passan
    • GOLF Channel analyst & 12-time PGA TOUR winner Justin Leonard
    • ESPN senior studio host Keith Olbermann
    • Actor/comedian Bill Burr


Following are highlights from The Rich Eisen Show on NBCSN:

Jeff Passan on if there will be baseball this season: “From everything I hear, from everything I see, from everything I think from the perspective of just pure, straight-up logic — it has to happen. There has to be a season at this point because the alternative of no season is so catastrophic to the future of the sport.”

Passan on Rob Manfred and his work on behalf of the MLB owners: “I think (MLB Commissioner) Rob Manfred has, for 25 years now, actually been extremely good at his job for the purposes of what Major League Baseball owners want, and they wanted to take back power after the Major League Baseball Players Association held it for…nearly 30 years. I think he has done a good job of that, but there comes a point at which the pendulum just swings too far in the opposite direction and I think that is what has happened here.”

Passan on the MLBPA being prepared to a file a grievance: “If it was a short season, the MLBPA was prepared to file a grievance that the league did not uphold its duty to play the fullest season possible. If you look at that grievance, it would probably be in the neighborhood of $1 billion. If you look at it from baseball’s perspective, even if the union only has a 25% chance of winning that grievance, you still have to value that grievance at $250 million.”

Passan on the financial differences in negotiations between MLB and the MLBPA: “MLB’s last offer maxed out at about $1.5 billion in cash to players. If you take that over a prorated basis, that is about 60 full games. The MLBPA’s last offer was for 89 full games at pro rata, which is about $2.25 billion. So, we are talking a $750 million gap.”

Passan on the timeline of negotiations: “Where they are now is where they should have been two months ago. We should have baseball literally right now, we should have baseball. That is not a hot take, that is a stone-cold fact that they screwed up badly.”

Justin Leonard on what he thought of golf’s return at the Charles Schwab Challenge: “I thought it was phenomenal to see live golf on television again, just a little sense of normalcy…We had a lot of drama even without the fans, which was a little strange. You see a guy make a big putt and there is almost no reaction…I thought the players handled it beautifully.”

Leonard on the PGA TOUR’s return to play procedures: “I have a lot of trust in the PGA TOUR in what they are doing. All the work that went into making last week and the return to golf successful…They created this bubble, this envelope, over the players, caddies, TV crews, and volunteers, and now they have to basically move that bubble to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. For the guys that didn’t play last week, they have some extra steps as far as their testing protocols that they need to do in order to gain entry into the tournament.”

Leonard on the pressure of playing in a Ryder Cup: “If a player misses a putt on any given week outside of a Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup, there are only a handful of people who are disappointed…Then you get into a situation of a Ryder Cup where you are playing for your peers, guys who you are trying to beat every week, and you are playing for a captain who you probably admired most, all, or some part of your career. Then you are either playing for the United States or a region in Europe and the amount of pressure, that is why you see the reactions that you do.”

Keith Olbermann on the state of baseball: “I really think it is worse than we have been talking about because there is a chance, an excellent chance — a probability — that the whole ruination of their business, the soiling of their own bed led by Rob Manfred, will be for no reason.”

Olbermann on the implications of having no MLB season: “What will be remembered of baseball will be the Astros scandal and how the owners tried to take financial advantage of a pandemic.”

Olbermann on the mindset of MLB and the owners: “There is a disconnect between humanity and baseball owners that exceeds anything else that I have encountered…They are convinced, and they have always been convinced, that these players will buckle, and the fans will forgive and forget.”

Bill Burr, an avid Patriots fan, on Tom Brady signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers: “So many times he deferred money down the road so that (the Patriots) could have a better team and win championships. He deserves to get paid, he deserves to play in a state with no state tax. Good for him.”

Burr on seeing pictures of Brady in a Buccaneers uniform: “As an older guy myself, they could have done him a little on some of the lighting on those…He put (the Patriots) on the map. He won six (championships). If he had won one, we would have named a street after him.”