Sunday’s negotiating session between MLB owners and the MLB Players Association lasted more than six hours, into the early evening in Jupiter, Florida.
That’s good, right?
As a technical note, there were no new formal proposals today from either side. But there was a lot of discussion: if we did X, could you do Y, and so forth.— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) February 28, 2022
While the conversations were good, union source indicates they’re still far from an agreement. Nothing got checked off today.— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) February 28, 2022
That... doesn’t sound good, with only one day left. Today, they are starting earlier in the day — at the time this article posted, 9 a.m. CT. That will, hopefully, give them enough time to hammer out a deal. Here’s the only bit of concrete information that’s available about Sunday’s session:
Sources: MLB has tied eliminating direct draft pick compensation in free agency — so, getting rid of the qualifying offer — to increased CBT tax rates. League today indicated willingness to raise CBT thresholds, but not far from $214m, the current starting point in its offer.— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) February 28, 2022
That’s sort of good, I guess, but my recollection is that MLB had previously agreed to eliminate draft pick compensation anyway, so this sounds like another “We’ll give you what we already gave you in return for something we want” offer. And “not far” from $214 million in the CBT rate is... just about where they were.
And so, we are here:
No one was overflowing with optimism, to say the least. And there is no set deadline time tomorrow: Expectation seems to be if they’re nearing a deal, they’ll push for it. And if they’re not… well, MLB has vowed to start cancelling regular season games.— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) February 28, 2022
what we’ve learned since dec 1 is that mlb is not looking for the fair and common ground in these negotiations. they’re just looking for the point at which the players will break.— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) February 28, 2022
And here (and this is an outstanding thread which is on one page here):
One of the most disheartening things about our time (and probably all times, though it’s easier to see now and highlighted lately) is how profoundly apathetic those with the power to change things or be stewards of treasured institutions or the health of our society seem to be— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) February 28, 2022
So, that’s where we stand, less than 24 hours away from losing part — or even all — of the 2022 MLB season. One last thing I want to say about labor law — here is a really good (though long) thread about what good faith/bad faith actually is in labor negotiations. It’s also here if you want to read it all on one page.
The 1947 Taft Hartley amendments to the Wagner Act (National Labor Relations Act) are generally despised, but there was one good thing and that was the inclusion of the "good faith" standard in 8(d) of the Act.— (((EugeneFreedman))) (@EugeneFreedman) February 27, 2022
I've previously mentioned the duty only attaches to mandatory 1/
How are people feeling about all this? Here’s a sample:
To those on the TL agonizing and wishing for baseball as a refuge from everything: understandable!— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) February 28, 2022
But it won’t feel good to get baseball if the cost of it is vindicating owners’ greed, breaking the union, and again forcing the players to accept another absurdly lopsided deal.
I know it's not the most popular stance but yeah if it takes losing a whole year and all that comes with it to get MLB to at least temporarily pull their heads out of their asses then I've got plenty of other shit I can be doing https://t.co/I2JDZkCjrY— Marc Normandin (@Marc_Normandin) February 27, 2022
For me personally, baseball and the Cubs have defined my springs and summers for as long as I can remember. It’s been really my entire life since I started doing BCB and this work. I love the game. But I, too, could miss a year if it would straighten out some of the things that are out of whack. MLB has, in fact, tilted too much toward ownership and away from the people who actually play the game, the folks we come to see. Of course I’d like to go back to Sloan Park and Wrigley Field and see baseball games played by the best players in the world — but not until there’s an equitable labor agreement. Of note:
Good time to find out what other baseball you could be watching, too. There's no shortage of the stuff.— Marc Normandin (@Marc_Normandin) February 27, 2022
If there’s no Major League Baseball in 2022, there will still be Minor League Baseball. The Cubs’ four affiliates begin their seasons April 8. We’ll cover them here as we have always done, with Josh and Tim’s excellent coverage, but there could be more, especially if some of those games wind up televised. There is also college baseball, which has already begun, and independent league ball, which begins in mid-May. Interestingly enough, many indy league teams are located in or near MLB markets, including Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Kansas City, Dallas, Denver, Pittsburgh, Washington DC, the San Francisco Bay Area and New York City. This Wikipedia page has a handy map of where indy league teams are located. Those teams should do quite well attendance-wise if there’s no MLB this year.
Let’s hope MLB and the MLBPA can come to an agreement — today — and Major League Baseball can begin to be played. If not, and you love baseball, there’s plenty of other baseball that will be played this summer. What will you do if there’s no MLB? Tell us in the comments.
I made no sleuthing posts here over the weekend in order to focus on the labor talks. But today I think we need a distraction. There will be a sleuthing post up at 12 noon CT.
As always, as you know, we await developments. Let’s hope today’s developments bring us good news.