With labor negotiations dragging on and the start of the season fast approaching, the threat of a months-long baseball lockout encroaching on the 2022 season has become very real.
Major League Baseball announced Friday that the first week of spring training games has been officially postponed. Matches were originally scheduled to start on Saturday, February 26, but now the first spring training contests could start on Sunday, March 6.
“We regret that, with no collective agreement in place, we have had to postpone the start of spring training games until Saturday, March 5, at the earliest,” the league said in a statement. “The 30 clubs are united in their strong desire to bring players back to the pitch and fans back to the stands. The clubs have adopted a uniform policy which provides a full refund option to fans who have purchased tickets from clubs for all spring training games that are not taking place. We are committed to reaching a fair agreement for each party. On Monday, members of the Owners’ Negotiating Committee will join an in-person meeting with the Players Association and will stay every day next week to negotiate and work hard to start the season on time.
MLB has been in an owner-imposed lockout since early December, when baseball’s previous collective bargaining agreement expired. The talks have progressed at a snail’s pace since then, and the indication that the league and players will begin meeting daily next week marks a significant increase in urgency with time rapidly running out.
Pitchers and receivers were originally supposed to report earlier this week, and now a new deal is expected to be in place by Feb. 28 to get the regular season started on time.
Opening day is scheduled for March 31 and the league has indicated that any time a new deal is reached, it will take at least four weeks of spring training. The league previously held a three-week “summer camp” leading up to the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, which all parties agreed was insufficient and contributed to a wave of injuries throughout the season. this summer.
The Red Sox were originally scheduled to open their Grapefruit League schedule next Saturday against defending World Series champion Atlanta Braves. Boston had a total of eight games scheduled during the affected dates, plus additional exposure with Northeastern University originally scheduled for next Friday.
Whether or not a new labor agreement is reached in time, the minor leaguers will continue to prepare for the upcoming season as usual.
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