Major League Baseball and the MLBPA are embroiled in tense negotiations regarding the new CBA. The two parties hard a largely unsuccessful meeting this past Thursday. Now, many fear that MLB spring training will not start in mid-February as currently scheduled.
Simply put, things don’t look good right now.
Some believe that MLB’s second work stoppage in 27 years might replicate the first. The Athletic’s Evan Drellich, who’s been following the MLB CBA situation since 2019, doesn’t believe things are headed in that direction quite yet.
“I think it would be pretty stunning if we had anything close to ’94-’95 where you miss the World Series in ’94 and it bleeds over into the next year. I don’t think it’s impossible that you miss regulars season games in 2022.”
The players’ strike in 1994 resulted in the World Series not being played for the first time since 1904.
To Drellich’s point, MLB losing some spring training games isn’t the end of the world. However, missing regular season is a much different matter.
“Remember, there’s so much more money [than ’94-’95), even adjusted for inflation, now in the sport. There’s so much more on the line on a nightly basis for every game that you miss. The pandemic wasn’t good for anybody…they’re both reeling from that.”
As Drellich mentions, both MLB and the MLBPA have a significant financial stake in ensuring the season starts on time. This also isn’t just “millionaires versus billionaires”.
One of the major battlegrounds for MLB CBA negotiations is increasing pay for the younger players who aren’t eligible for free agency. Many of those players have six-figure salaries.
The MLB and MLBPA have plenty of hot button issues that need to be agreed upon. Spring training might not start on time, but both sides cannot afford to cancel a slew of regular season games.
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