This wasn’t difficult to predict, not from the moment Major League Baseball’s owners locked out the players in December once the league’s collective bargaining agreement expired. It was probably inevitable once those same owners waited more than a month to begin negotiations with the players on a new deal, only to mostly refuse to negotiate in good faith. Today, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred made it official: the league is canceling games.
It’s worth noting that, in theory, there is nothing stopping the two sides from coming to an agreement well ahead of Opening Day on March 31. In practice, ownership set a deadline for 12 a.m. today, which it later adjusted to 4 p.m. after a late flurry of (likely disingenuous) momentum in negotiations. It passed without a deal after the players rejected ownership’s “best and final offer.” If you want to know why, consider the terms of said “best and final”:
Manfred is only canceling the first two series of the year thus far, so perhaps there will be resolution without too much more collateral damage. Probably not, however, considering the owners have reportedly expressed a willingness to wipe out all of April.
This unequivocally sucks, although we’ll try not to dwell too much about it here on StrongSide. Jamey Newberg will have a piece tomorrow on Actual Baseball Matters, and the two of us will do our damndest to sprinkle in plenty more to entertain you until the club gets back on the field. The good news is the odds remain in favor of the bulk of the season getting played. The bad news is it’s less evident than ever that baseball’s owners are with the rest of us in wanting to see that happen.