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MLB Lockout Update And A Look At Past Work Stoppages In Baseball

MLB Lockout Update And A Look At Past Work Stoppages In Baseball

Kamil Krzaczynski/USA TODAY Sports

Each passing day brings us closer to Major League Baseball’s 2022 season. Fans are eager to see their teams back on the field in the coming weeks.

But a standoff between the MLB and the MLB Players Association (MLBPA) puts all that in jeopardy. If a decision isn’t reached soon, the MLB has threatened to postpone or cancel games.

It’s all due to the infamous MLB lockout that has taken hold of the league since last year when the previous collective bargaining agreement expired. And although it’s the first offseason lockout in Major League Baseball, the pressure is really on now that spring training is about to ramp up and Opening Day is just around the corner.

Owners vs. players

The current lockout started on December 2, 2021. As the old collective bargaining agreement expired, the team owners and players weren’t able to settle on a new one.

Without a new agreement in place, owners feared a possible players’ strike during the 2022 season. Their solution? Lock them out before they can strike. The vote was unanimous among the 30 owners.

This defensive tactic drew a lot of criticism. For one, many saw it as a strategy to fracture the MLBPA.

Furthermore, the league didn’t even make a first proposal for six weeks, which is part of the reason why there’s so much pressure on now. With the season getting closer and closer, negotiations have taken on a high-stakes feel.

The players rejected the first proposal and eventually asked for the assistance of a federal mediator to help resolve things. In mid-February, spring training start dates were postponed, but MLB commissioner Rob Manfred struck an optimistic tone that a deal would be done in time for the season’s start.

Over the last week, that optimistic outlook has certainly taken a hit. The two sides met every day, but still couldn’t come to an agreement.

The MLB imposed a deadline of February 28 before starting to cancel regular season games. But after 16 hours of talks, things were still unresolved.

Now, the deadline is March 1, and baseball fans wait with bated breath to find out whether a new agreement will be made by the end of the day.

Main points of contention in the MLB lockout

So, what’s really at stake in the MLB lockout? The three biggest things that still need to be settled are:

Those are the sticking points, but a number of other collective bargaining issues have also been discussed, including free agency, draft pick compensation, service time restrictions, postseason length and designated hitter rules.

Past MLB strikes and lockouts

While there’s certainly plenty of drama in this year’s lockout, it’s not the first time that a work stoppage has caused an uproar in pro baseball. Here’s a look at some of the past strikes and lockouts in MLB history:

It’s been almost 30 years since that last work stoppage. Will it end today, or drag on for additional days, weeks or (gulp) months? We’ll find out soon.

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