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What is the drop-dead date for MLB Spring Training in order to have the regular season start on time?

MLB hasn’t said. But we can make educated guesses.

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Will we be seeing the Cubs play in Mesa anytime soon?
Al Yellon

Today is Super Bowl Sunday.

It’s always been kind of an unofficial baseball fan/writer thing to tweet “Now baseball season begins!” or words to that effect after the NFL’s championship game is over.

But we can’t do that today because at this time, due to MLB’s lockout of players by ownership, we don’t know when baseball season will begin. MLB Spring Training games are supposed to take place in 13 days and that’s not gonna happen.

All we can do is guess, based on public statements made by Commissioner Rob Manfred and others, so far.

Here’s what we know from the very short owner/player negotiating session on Saturday:

MLB on Saturday also discussed a calendar with the players, expressly outlining when a deal would be needed by to begin the regular season on time. The exact dates the league identified were not immediately known, and it’s unclear yet if the union sees eye to eye with MLB’s sense of the calendar. Commissioner Rob Manfred two days earlier said about four weeks would be needed for spring training to be held.

If a minimum four weeks would get Spring Training done in order to get the regular season to commence on time March 31, that would make the latest date to begin and still get this done Thursday, March 3.

Here’s what Manfred said at his Thursday news conference about the time it would take after an agreement was reached for that (probably) abbreviated Spring Training to begin:

Manfred said that once a deal is reached, it would take less than a week for spring training to start, and then about 28 days for players to be game-ready for the start of the season, meaning the new CBA would need to be made by late February to avoid missing games.

“Less than a week.” Let’s be generous and give them a week. One week before March 3 is Thursday, February 24. Or, if you want to push it a bit further, let’s say February 25 or 26.

That gives owners and players between 12 and 14 days to reach a comprehensive new collective-bargaining agreement in order to not lose any regular season games in 2022.

Doesn’t seem like much time. I’m saying that’s not gonna happen, and really, it's inconsiderate to fans for MLB to not acknowledge that a delay is inevitable and to start postponing things..

Here is a good Twitter thread, worth reading in its entirety, laying out exactly what is happening here:

Poll

Will MLB owners and players reach an agreement with enough time to start the 2022 regular season as scheduled March 31?

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    Yes
    (94 votes)
  • 85%
    No
    (547 votes)
641 votes total Vote Now