David Stearns joined local reporters in Milwaukee on a conference call late yesterday afternoon to discuss a wide range of topics, including, of course, the possibility of a 2020 baseball season being played. Stearns said that he’s “optimistic that both sides (players and owners) genuinely want to play” this season and that there is a legitimate path towards doing so, even if the season is shortened. “I do think both sides recognize how important it is,” he stated.
“I have generally felt pretty confident there’s going to be a season, and over the last week, nothing has happened to diminish that confidence. There are a lot of people working really hard to making sure baseball is back on the field, on both sides of this,” he added.
Despite the back and forth rhetoric between both sides, Stearns told those listening that he “firmly” believes that there will be a representative regular season and postseason played. He also added that none of the players on his Milwaukee Brewers have suggested that they would opt out of the season due to concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stearns also talked about the death of George Floyd and the protests and unrest that it has sparked across the country. A native of New York City, the executive was in middle school when Amadou Diallo was killed by police. “[F]rankly, thinking at that time how the adults in the room should be able to prevent that, should be able to prevent that level of wrong...I’m an adult, and my generation are the adults in the room, and it still happened. And then on so many levels, it’s just incredibly deflating and dispiriting.”
He continued: “The other thing that has been dispiriting to me, in the aftermath of this, is how political we have made this moment in our society, for reasons I can’t understand. This is not a political moment. This is a human rights issue and should be treated as such. To politicize it is beyond comprehension to me.”
Stearns stated that it was important that the Brewers went on record about working towards equal justice, but added that “words matter a lot less than actions.” He has been giving thought to how he and the Brewers can help to make a positive difference. “One of the ways I can start doing better is by talking about it and not running away from the issue.”
“This isn’t something that any of us can fix overnight. As an organization, we certainly recognize that. I think there’s a tremendous amount of internal discussion in how we can play a part. We are committed to playing a part, and a role, and I think we will.”
Stearns concluded by saying “I certainly think there’s an opportunity and a way for baseball to help bring people together and help provide a diversion...I am sure hopeful and optimistic that we can get there.”