MLBPA vs the Owners | Ethan Swidler
February 28th is the day that all major league and minor league teams gather in Arizona or Florida and have their first spring training games. The day is filled with laughter, fun, sunflower seeds, batboys, home runs, celebrations, and most importantly fans to watch the games; however, this year was much different. On February 28, 2022, no players, coaches, fans, nor trainers were allowed to be at their campgrounds. The Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), a group of mostly ex-baseball players that represent the players' wants and needs to keep playing for MLB, and the owners along with Rob Manfred, the commissioner of the MLB, have been in hundreds of hours of meetings in negotiations to try and meet the needs of one another.
Since December of 2021, the MLB has been in a lockout, meaning that no deals can be made between players and teams. Along with the lockout, the MLB season can not go underway, until both sides agree upon a deal. The deadline for the season to start on time passed this Monday, the owners and MLBPA are still on completely opposite sides of the spectrum. The players are seeking a larger pool, at $100 million, along with increasing the minimum salary to $630,000(teams can pay more if they want) for players with 0-1 years of service, $650,000 for players with 1-2 years, and $725,000 minimum for players with 2-3 years of service. The MLBPA also wants to do a lottery system for the draft to stop teams from “tanking” towards the end of the season in order to get a higher pick, and many more minor demands. The owners and Rob Manfred want nothing to change from the previous deal, especially because it was heavily in their favor. The players association saw this and want to make lots of changes to the new deal.
In the past MLB lockouts that have occurred, they have been able to play through them as the negotiations are still ongoing, and get a start to the season. But in the most recent one in 1994 the owners attempted to create an unfair deal, and the players chose to strike. Approximately 900 games were lost during the strike, and it took years for the MLB to regain the fans and the community they had prior to the lockout. MLB is trying to avoid that same issue this time around, however, at this time the two sides cannot seem to agree on anything and this lockout will not be ending anytime soon.
This year would have been the “back to normal” year that the MLB needed to keep the game the way it used to be played. After two years of a shortened season, canceled games, and fewer fans, baseball really needed this year in an attempt to get the atmosphere it needs back. But with this lockout occurring the MLB will have to go another year where the players have to adjust to a shortened season, the fans get fewer games to watch, and whatever else is brought to the table during these lockout negotiations. If the MLBPA and the owners can’t come to an agreement soon, it could have big effects on the future of the MLB.