In the wake of today’s league-imposed deadline to reach an agreement to pass a new collective bargaining agreement, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred announced this afternoon that the league will cancel the first two series of the regular season. as Max Molesky writes for NBC SportsThat means a total of 91 games lost. The league has stated on multiple occasions that it has no plans to reschedule those competitions – either by double-heading or rearranging previously scheduled vacation days. In addition to a late start to the regular season, the league has notified teams that it is delaying the start of spring training until at least March 12, as Micheline Maynard of The Washington Post noted (Twitter link).
The commissioner’s announcement appears to indicate that the 155-game schedule is the maximum number to be played in 2022. When asked why the league is set to have outright cancellations rather than postponements, Manfred noted the challenges of recasting interplay in an appropriate manner (via Chelsea Janes from The Washington Post). Reports last week indicated that the league only intends to move from where the schedule left off if/when there is an agreement, so it appears that each club’s first two series (up to this point) will be scrapped from the league calendar.
Unsurprisingly, Manfred added that the league’s position is to not pay players for any games not played (Via JJ Cooper of Baseball America). This paves the way for a second season in the past three years with potential salary pro-rata discussions, as the federation emphasized that they did not believe today should have represented a deadline to avoid the game being cancelled.
The MLB created the unilateral closure and could have lifted it at any time, choosing to proceed under the terms of the 2016-21 CBA. There was no chance the league would take this action, but the decision to set a strict deadline (first night, later delayed until this evening) for the deal was also made only by MLB. The Players Association has never agreed to this deadline, and the Giants soccer player Austin Slater – A club player representative – argued that the federation preferred continuing negotiations over today’s result.
“I don’t think it’s necessarySlater said Susan Sluser of the San Francisco Chronicle from canceling the match after the expiry of the league deadline. “It was the Palestinian Authority Setting up training camps And in 2020, we’ve shown that we can do that in three weeks. …but that’s their prerogative, and Rob’s bargaining strategy was to go through that deadline and see if they could push a deal down their throat.“
Others on the players’ side took a similar position, arguing that the league deadline was a negotiating position for MLB to pressure the league to accept an unfavorable deal. Slater’s fellow Alex Wood He was among the players to Twitter This afternoon, the league was accused of exaggerating the progress of negotiations last night, allowing the MLB to suggest that the league was at fault for not reaching an agreement today. Manfred made some references to this meaning in his press conference this evening, noting the fact that finalizing a new capacity building agreement requires agreement from both parties.
After a week and a half of daily negotiations that have not resulted in an agreement, what’s the next step? Request from Hana Keyser from Yahoo! Manfred responded by finding out if this afternoon’s “best and last” league bid means MLB has no plans to continue negotiations. “We’ve never used the offer phrase “last, best” with the unionThe commissioner replied. While acknowledging that the parties were “ImpasseHe noted that the university was open to continuing negotiations. Manfred said that Today’s suggestion It was only the league final before the matches were called off, not the negotiations altogether. On the other hand, Bob Nightingale from USA TODAY Hear from a source who used the leagueBest Final Show“Term.
This is an important distinction. Like Bill Chicken of the Los Angeles Times pointed out This afternoon, the league will probably have achieved.”Best Final Show“It could open the way for the MLB to declare a formal deadlock in negotiations – a decision that could stop bargaining and engage the court system. Manfred declined to speculate on this possibility, but his stated ability to continue negotiations appears to indicate that the league does not plan to pursue this course of action in the future.” this stage.
It is not clear when the negotiations will begin, although the commissioner indicated that the talks could not resume until Thursday at the earliest. Manfred also made it clear that he considers the ball in the Etihad court, noting that the league made the last offer on the issues.without exceptionand rhetorically tell reporters to draw their own conclusions about which side should take the next step (Via Scott Miller from The Bleacher Report). The fact that the league made the last proposal may be technically correct, although doing so an hour before the press conference with no willingness to continue negotiating today makes Manfred’s pointed bump a bit strange.
Manfred also made some helpful statements about the negotiations that are sure to get attention. He claimed that the past five years have been “difficult” for the industry financially, an assertion that immediately sparked a backlash. As Eric Boland of Newsday points out (on Twitter), the league brought in a record $10.7 billion in 2019. The past two seasons have already seen pandemic-driven revenue losses — particularly in 2020, a year fans mostly missed — but Manfred’s claim that the entire CBA program is financially challenging Easy to dispute.
The commissioner also discussed the terms of the league’s latest offer. He highlighted what he felt were player-friendly economic provisions (such as creating a bonus pool for players prior to refereeing) and added that the league was also seeking product tweaks on the pitch. Manfred claimed that the MLB had suggested ways to implement the pitch clock and defensive shift limits during their last show. The league’s desire was in the stadium clock Previously mentionedbut it wasn’t clear that MLB was trying to ban the switch this winter.
Of course, changes in the aesthetics of the sport take a back seat as long as fundamental economic controversies continue to rage. The MLBPA issued a statement in response to Manfred’s press conference (on Twitter). Partially reads:
“Owners Rob Manfred and MLB canceled the start of the season. Players and fans around the world who love baseball are disgusted, but unfortunately not surprised. …what Rob Manfred described as “defensive insurance” is actually the culmination of a decades-long attempt by the owners to break our player’s fraternity. As in the past, this effort will fail.“
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