Major League Baseball and its players union could not come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement by a Tuesday deadline, prompting the league to cancel the first two series at the start of the 2022 season which had been scheduled for March 31. That means a season would not start until April 8 at the earliest.
“The calendar dictates that we’re not going to be able to play the first two series of the regular season and those games are officially canceled,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said today, according to ESPN. He said the union’s negotiations team is leaving the talks which were being held in Jupiter, FL and “no agreement is possible until at least Thursday.”
The league had previously scheduled 15 games for Opening Day on March 31, including the Los Angeles Dodgers’ home opener and defending World Series champ the Atlanta Braves opening at Miami.
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The two sides had been at loggerheads over what always was expected to be tough negotiations on a new deal, and the league locked out players preemptively December 2 in what it said was an attempt to finalize a new CBA before the regular season’s scheduled March 31 start. The league has already postponed the start of spring training as the lockout has dragged on.
Major-league issues are in play in the new contract, including expanding the playoffs from 12 to 14 teams, adding the designated hitter to the National League, increasing minimum salaries, creating a bonus pool for pre-arbitration players, and making adjustments to the luxury tax.
The original deadline imposed by the league to keep the March 31 opening day in play was Monday; a 16-hour session between the league and the Major League Baseball Players Association offered no deal but enough optimism to extend the deadline to 5 p.m. ET today. MLB’s last and final offer made earlier Tuesday was rejected by the union, according to reports.
The postponement keeps baseball in limbo, with teams unable to sign free agents without a deal and teams not able to train together. The league has said spring training can start “within days” of a CBA being signed.
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