Baseball-MLB postpones start of Spring Training as labor dispute continues

by mcardinal


Major League Baseball on Friday said it would postpone the start of Spring Training games until at least March 5 due to an ongoing labor dispute with its players.

Little progress has been made toward a new collective bargaining agreement since the league locked the players out in early December. Spring training games had been slated to begin on Feb. 26.

Among the issues in the current dispute are owners and players not agreeing on service time toward free agency, playoff expansion, a luxury tax and possible salary floor, and several proposed rule changes.

The sides met for just 15 minutes on Thursday but hope to make more progress when they begin a new round of face-to-face negotiations starting on Monday. If they fail to do so, the March 31 start day for the 162-game regular season could be in jeopardy.

In announcing the postponement, MLB said all 30 clubs were unified in their strong desire to bring players back to the field and fans back to the stands.

“We are committed to reaching an agreement that is fair to each side,” MLB said in a statement.

The Major League Baseball Players Association said the players remain committed to the negotiating process and criticized MLB for saying that it had no choice but to postpone the start of spring training games.

“This is false,” the players said in a statement.

“Nothing requires the league to delay the start of spring training, much like nothing required the league’s decision to implement a lockout in the first place.”

The lockout is MLB’s first work stoppage since the players’ strike of 1994-95. That dispute forced a premature end to one season, delayed the start of the next year’s campaign and turned off fans, with attendances plummeting when play finally resumed.

Copyright 2022 Thomson/Reuters