Earlier today, Jerry Dipoto joined Paul Gallant and Michael Bumpus for an interview on 710 ESPN Seattle. Right out of the gate, Dipoto was asked about his thoughts and potential concerns in regards to the growing contention between Major League and Baseball and its players over potential pay cuts for if and when the season resumes. Dipoto had this to say:
“My general thought is, ‘just go play.’ At the end of the day, we’re very fortunate to do what we do, you know, whatever our job is in professional sports. In this moment in time—and I guess in any moment—my urge is, like, as we develop culture and as we develop character with our club, you know, understand that there’s a big world around and there’s a lot of people suffering. Don’t whine. Just go play.”
Dipoto is one of the few MLB executives to have spoken out after the turmoil caused by MLB’s owners’ desires to go back on a deal they and the MLBPA agreed upon three months ago. Said deal would have prorated all players’ salaries to 50% if the 2020 season resumed, but now that the likelihood of that happening is starting to go up, the owners are instead trying to sell the players on a 50-50 revenue split that would ultimately result in an even steeper hit in income for the players.
To say that Dipoto’s comments are not going to be received well would be an understatement. They’ve already garnered some negative attention from Mariners fans on social media and will likely turn some heads on Seattle’s roster. It’s an especially bad look for Dipoto as a former player, who should, in theory, be able to empathize with the players’ standpoint better than most executives.
But while these comments are disappointing, they’re ultimately unsurprising. Outside of owner John Stanton, Jerry Dipoto is the leading public voice of the Mariners’ front office. He’s not going to publicly disagree with the stance Stanton and the rest of MLB’s owners are taking, even if he wanted to.
At this point, it’s hard to see any sort of resolution to this that both parties walk away happy from. The pressure, unfortunately, continues to mount on the players rather than the owners, especially when high-ranking team officials such as Dipoto make comments like these that spin the narrative in the owners’ favor to the public eye.