Fans of Major League Baseball received more bad news about the national pastime this week, as negotiations between MLB owners and officials and the MLB Players Association continue to make little headway. On Friday afternoon, it was announced that MLB will be delaying the start of spring training until at least March 5th as the talks drag on.
A recent bargaining session between the two sides hit a new low for the negotiations, lasting just 15 minutes with virtually no progress made.
Anyone who knows even a little about this situation knows who is at fault. Manfred and the owners are proving how little they care about the players, fans or the game of baseball. That side were the ones to initiate this lockout back in December, and they’re the only ones who seem committed to continuing it.
Greed of the owners
Some of the most important points of the negotiations revolve around the players’ demands for more revenue sharing between clubs, service time for players to enter arbitration and just a generally better economic situation for players, both major and minor leagues.
Minor league baseball players are some of the most poorly paid laborers in the country considering the sheer amount of work they put in. Without a minor league system in place, there would be no major league baseball.
There is serious concern that the two sides are very far apart on these economic issues which are the most contentious of the negotiations. This is far from the first time players and owners have butted heads over money, but rarely other than the 1994 players’ strike has it been this dire.
The talks are supposed to intensify starting on Monday, but the way things are going, there is little reason to be optimistic. ESPN reported that in a statement on Friday the owners claimed;
“We regret that, without a collective bargaining agreement in place, we must postpone the start of spring training games,… all 30 clubs are unified in their strong desire to bring players back to the field and fans back to the stands” the statement went on to say, “We are committed to reaching an agreement that is fair to each side. On Monday, members of the owners’ bargaining committee will join an in-person meeting with the Players Association and remain every day next week to negotiate and work hard towards starting the season on time.”
The players fired back and claimed that the MLB’s announcement that the owners “must” postpone the start of spring training is “false”. This is basically correct. It’s important to reiterate that the owners and the ones who locked the players out, and the power to get the season on track is entirely in their power.
The only reason pitchers and catchers have not reported yet and the wheels of spring training are not in motion is due to the owners’ greed and unwillingness to meet its players’ demands. These are multi-millionaires and billionaires we’re talking about. The fact that they have made as little headway as they have with the players is telling of where their priorities are.
They continue to put profits and money over their players’ livelihoods, and in turn, are putting professional baseball in jeopardy. The abuse of their positions is evident and the MLBPA and baseball fans in general are understandably fed up.
When will baseball be back?
It’s important to remember that the date of March 5th for a start to Spring Training is an absolute best case scenario. The way the negotiations have gone to this point, there is unfortunately no reason for the MLBPA and fans to feel optimistic that Spring Training will be on track on or around that date. It’s a good thing that talks are continuing as the season is supposed to be coming out of hibernation, as it puts some added degree of pressure on the owners’ side.
Talks are supposed to intensify this week, but the owners’ refusal to meet its players’ demands is leaving a lot of baseball fans wondering what continued talks are going to achieve, especially after that abysmal 15 minute bargaining session on Thursday.
There’s always an off chance that an agreement is made as talks heat up this week, but it will depend on the owners changing their ways. Unfortunately the MLBPA has a lot more to lose from the lockout than commissioner Rob Manfred and the owners, so the end of the lockout is in their hands almost entirely.
While no baseball fan wants the lockout to continue, there is a general understanding that the players’ demands are reasonable and it’s the owners who are at fault for continuing to delay the season. Baseball will be back eventually, but this league can little afford to have a 2nd shortened season in three years.
Stay tuned for more MLB news and notes over at BaseballSportlight.com!