On Friday, Major League Baseball announced that the start of spring training games would be postponed for at least a week. The sports world has sparked a collective “duh” at the news. The league and its players continue to be mired in the midst of contentious collective bargaining negotiations in which little tangible progress is being made. It is time for the owners to end the lockout they have imposed and allow spring training to begin while discussions continue.
As CBS Sports’ Matt Snyder points out, owners could choose to end the lockdown at any time. It is not a necessary trading tool. They claimed to have implemented it on December 2 to help restart negotiations on a new collective agreement. Then they waited 43 days to make an offer to the Players Association. So yeah, that was a huge waste of time and rhetoric.
Spring training games were originally scheduled to start on February 26. From now on, none will take place before at least March 5. MLB has also notified the Players Association. he thinks a new CBA should be completed by February 28 for the 2022 season to start on time. So again why not just allow the players to start preparing for the season now in case a deal is struck and they can start the season on time. It seems the most logical decision.
As Snyder also points out, the decision to end the lockout could be seen as a gesture of good faith that could help grease the wheels of the negotiation. Fans would love this because, damn it, we miss baseball and spring training is really fun. Why not give us a distraction while you continue the crushingly slow process of negotiation? It’s a win all the way.
If MLB were to end the lockout, there’s definitely a chance players could counter with a strike, but we don’t know. At this point, the only reason the baseball isn’t happening is because of the moves the owners made. Frankly, that tells you where we are. A group of billionaires are holding the sport hostage because they want to scrape some more cash for themselves. And the negotiations confirmed it.
So far, players have made some pretty big concessions. They agreed to expand the playoffs, agreed to uniform ads, and dropped their earlier free agency request. Both sides thought a coin toss system was needed to defend against tanking, so it wasn’t difficult. Yes, details need to be worked out on some of these proposals, but this is where progress has been made. Unfortunately, the owners stubbornly refuse to budge on the bigger issue: giving players more money.
There’s no way to look at the current mess of baseball’s workforce and come to any conclusion other than the fault of the owners. They have locked players out and refuse to make any major concessions. They could end it all now, but they refuse to do so.
From my point of view, there is no logical reason for the owners to continue the lockdown. Rob Manfred & Co. must end it, start spring training and resume trading. Failure to do so could cause irreparable damage to the baseball.