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MLB lockout costs further regular-season games

The opening day of Major League Baseball’s regular season has been further pushed back to April 14 after the latest efforts to strike a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with players failed.

In a statement released yesterday (Wednesday), MLB commissioner Robert Manfred said that “good-faith proposals” were made to address concerns raised by the Players Association (MLBPA) in a “last-ditch effort” to preserve a 162-game season.

MLB had already cancelled the first two series of games in its 2022 regular season as efforts to strike a new CBA ate into its competitive schedule. It came after MLB entered its first lockout in over a quarter of a century on December 2 as Manfred criticised the MLBPA’s “strategy of confrontation over compromise” amid a potential threat to Opening Day of the 2022 season.

Manfred’s latest statement says that clubs went to “extraordinary lengths to meet the substantial demands” of the MLBPA. Clubs proposed ways to bridge gaps to preserve a full schedule but the league remains without a deal, with disagreement over the international draft proving to be the latest stumbling block.

“Because of the logistical realities of the calendar, another two series are being removed from the schedule, meaning that Opening Day is postponed until April 14,” Manfred said. “We worked hard to reach an agreement and offered a fair deal with significant improvements for the players and our fans.

“I am saddened by this situation’s continued impact on our game and all those who are a part of it, especially our loyal fans. We have the utmost respect for our players and hope they will ultimately choose to accept the fair agreement they have been offered.”

MLB’s previous CBA expired with the league’s owners immediately deciding to lock out the players after failed talks over a new deal. MLB’s last lockout ran from August 12, 1994 to April 2, 1995, resulting in the cancellation of the 1994 World Series.

The MLB regular season had been due to begin on March 31, with all 30 teams scheduled to be in action. Cancellation of the first two series resulted in the loss of 91 games and the latest announcement means that a further 93 games have been lost.

Prior to yesterday’s development, MLB announced a $1m (£761,000/€906,000) fund to support Grapefruit and Cactus League workers affected by cancelled Spring Training games.

The initial fund will be administered by clubs to individuals based on financial need and will be available to all part-time and seasonal workers, including concessionaires, grounds crew, security, clubhouse and general ballpark and game operators.

An additional fund will be created by MLB and clubs for seasonal and part-time workers affected by missed regular-season games, with details to be announced at a future date.

Image: Chanan Greenblatt on Unsplash