MLB’s lockout is now in its 70th day — 10 full weeks of baseball nothingness — and talks to put together a new collective bargaining agreement with the MLB Players Association have totaled about five hours with no real movement. No talks have happened since last week, and none are scheduled at this time.
That’s why this report from Michael Silverman of the Boston Globe should come as no surprise to you:
Spring training is scheduled to start Feb. 16. Commissioner Rob Manfred is expected by many to announce that the start will be pushed back when he meets with the media here on Thursday.
His take on the state of baseball, as well as the growing threat that the start of the regular season will also be delayed with games possibly lost, will be highly anticipated.
Owners have been meeting this week in Orlando, Florida. Manfred is scheduled to hold a news conference Thursday at the conclusion of those meetings. Per Silverman’s article, that will be the first time Manfred has met with media members since December 2, the first day of the lockout. It took 43 days, per Silverman’s article, for owners to make their first substantive CBA proposal to players.
Also important in regard to any delay of Spring Training and the 2022 MLB season:
I should add, it’s not just the gate that adds pressure. Clubs will have to rebate their regional sports networks for lost games, as well. They have already been having to do so with the games lost in 2020. RSNs are clearly bit excited about this.— Maury Brown (@BizballMaury) February 9, 2022
Just to make that last sentence clear, Maury Brown clarifies:
Should read, “RSNs are clearly *not* excited about this.”— Maury Brown (@BizballMaury) February 9, 2022
Just so it’s really clear to you: MLB’s 2022 season is in grave danger of having games cancelled. There’s a non-zero chance the sport loses the entire season, which would be disastrous for everyone involved. And know that it’s not just players who are affected here. There are thousands of men and women who work in team front offices. There are many more thousands who work during games — gameday staffs, security workers, vendors, concession workers — who depend on those jobs for their livelihoods. There are other businesses related to baseball, such as the souvenir shops, bars and restaurants in the area around Wrigley Field, whose business depends on having thousands of fans come to baseball games. That’s summed up here:
As expected, MLB is expected to announce a delay to the start of Spring Training as early as Thursday. Financial pressure of that starts as soon as games with fans are lost.— Maury Brown (@BizballMaury) February 9, 2022
We’ll know more tomorrow when Manfred holds his news conference. While Maury Brown is correct that “financial pressure” will begin when actual games — even Spring Training games — are cancelled, whether that pressure results in any change remains to be seen.
What a mess. As always, we await developments.