MLB Lockout Ends and Baseball Season Finally Starts!
Written by Phoebe
Published date · March 18, 2022 | Last Updated · Dec. 14, 2022 | Read Time: 2 mins
Baseball is back! The MLB’s 99-day lockout has finally come to a close. Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association (MLBPA) finalized a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) last week, putting an end to the owner-imposed lockout marked by high tension and mistrust.
While the MLBPA representatives did not unanimously agree to proposed changes, a majority (26 out of 38) voted in support of the new five-year CBA. The deal addressed many long-standing and contentious issues, including minimum salaries, competitive integrity, and the competitive balance tax threshold. On the league’s side, all 30 of the MLB’s team owners accepted the deal, which also afforded them an expanded postseason field and the opportunity to advertise on uniforms. The second-longest work stoppage in MLB’s history is now over. An intense series of player trades and free-agent signings followed with the first exhibition games beginning as recently as March 17. A regular and full 162-game season will be played following Opening Day on April 7, despite a one-week delay in scheduling.
The disagreements between the MLB and MLBPA date back to the previous 2016 CBA. This resulted in a prolonged period of issues, including stagnating or falling player salaries while the league’s profits grew, service-time manipulation, and tactical tanking by teams. The Player Association and MLB’s relationship grew more turbulent with the pandemic after they failed to come to a mutual agreement on a reduced 2020 season. This was all fuel for the fire that was the most recent walkout, and baseball season was postponed.
Could this deal have come sooner, and has the MLB and MLBPA’s Relationship Improved? At a recent conference announcing the deal, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred was excited that the deal was done and the season was finally underway. However, when Manfred was asked if the deal could have been made without delaying Opening Day and canceling training games, the short answer was no. Manfred stated that due to the nature of collective bargaining being driven by time and economic agreement, it came together as quickly as it realistically could. “No agreement comes together before those two things play out in a way that you find common ground. I think we made an agreement when it was possible to make an agreement.” Manfred does seem to believe and hope that the MLB and MLBPA will work together, describing the effort made by the league to meet demands as “an olive branch” to improve their relationship. On the surface, there appears to be a genuine attempt to future-proof contentious issues and increase communication on key issues, including the international draft and any rule changes.
Only time will tell if this improved relationship between the league and players will last. But for now, baseball is back on track, and bettors and sports fans can enjoy the baseball without delays or drama – hopefully until at least the next CBA!