For the first time in over 30 years, the team owners in Major League Baseball have imposed a lockout on the players. This is the first work stoppage in 26 years since a players’ strike in 1994 that led to the cancellation of the World Series and lasted until April of the following year.
The two sides—the owners and the players union—have until early March to reach a new collective bargaining agreement that would resolve the MLB lockout. But, it is widely believed that a resolution is not in the near future.
With the season so far away, the most immediate impact is that the MLB lockout will bring a halt to contract negotiations and leave the future of current free agents in question. This includes prominent names like Carlos Correa, Freddie Freeman and Kris Bryant.
Why is baseball having a lockout?
Major League Baseball is having a lockout because the collective bargaining agreement expired at 12:01 AM on December 2, 2021 without a deal having been made between the team owners and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA).
In a letter to the fans, the commissioner of Major League Baseball, Rob Manfred (who works for the owners) placed the blame on the Players Association (the union).
“Despite the league’s best efforts to make a deal with the Players Association, we were unable to extend our 26 year-long history of labor peace and come to an agreement with the MLBPA before the current CBA expired. Therefore, we have been forced to commence a lockout of Major League players, effective at 12:01am ET on December 2.”
Not surprisingly, Tony Clark, Executive Director of the Players Association, pointed the finger at the team owners in a separate statement.
“It was the owners’ choice, plain and simple, specifically calculated to pressure Players into relinquishing rights and benefits, and abandoning good faith bargaining proposals that will benefit not Just Players, but the game and industry as a whole. These tactics are not new. We have been here before, and Players have risen to the occasion time and again — guided by a solidarity that has been forged over generations. We will do so again here…”
A more detailed look at why baseball is having a lockout was reported on The Athletic.
According to their reporting,”…MLB declined to counter an economics proposal…unless the MLBPA agreed in advance to drop a number of key demands, including on the time it takes players to get to free agency and revenue sharing between owners.”
In layman’s terms, the players want more flexibility and a bigger share of the money that Major League Baseball generates and the owners don’t want to give it to them.
What is a lockout in Major League Baseball?
In a very simple sense, a lockout could be seen as the MLB owners locking the doors and not letting the players go to work. On the other hand, a players’ strike is when players refuse to come to work.
But more specifically, it means that team officials and players are not allowed to communicate with each other until a new collective bargaining agreement is reached. Players are also not allowed to use team facilities.
Who initiated the Major League Baseball lockout?
Only the owners can impose a lockout. When the players initiate the work stoppage, it’s called a strike.
When was the last MLB lockout?
The last lockout for Major League Baseball was in 1990. However, the players had a strike in 1994 that caused the cancellation of the World Series.
What happens if the MLB lockout doesn’t end?
If a new collective bargaining agreement is not agreed upon before the beginning of the upcoming season, there will be no baseball games until they resolve the lockout.
When will the lockout end?
It is unknown when the Major League Baseball lockout will end, but the previous three lockouts did not cause a disruption in the regular season. However, the lockout was long expected and there’s still a wide gap between the demands of the players and what the owners are willing to concede.
It looks like there’s a long way to go before a new collective bargaining agreement is reached, but they still have five months to get it done. Let’s hope they can work out their issues and be ready to play ball by Opening Day of the 2022 season.