The 2022 MLB Lockout

Edward Nieman, Writer

For the first time since 1994 America’s pastime will have to wait to begin the season.

Last week Major League Baseball announced the cancellation of opening day due to the deadlock between the players association and league owners over contract negotiations.

Starting on December 2 the league announced the beginning of the lockout due to the expiration of the 2016 previous collective bargaining agreement. Since then numerous proposals from both sides have been sent back and forth only ultimately to be rejected by each side as the owners and players association wants are not being agreed upon.

Atop the list for things that the owners are pushing for include the expansion of the playoffs into a 14 team format. The 14 team format would generate another 100 million dollars for the league. Although the MLBPA has agreed to a playoff expansion they have favored a 12 team format over the 14 team format that the owners are hoping for.

Another big topic of disagreement between the two sides has come from the Competitive Balance Tax system. Also referred to as the luxury tax, it is the system that taxes teams a certain percent amount each year that they exceed the spending limit. The current system enforces a 20% tax on the first offense, followed by an increasing amount each year after.

The dispute comes over that players want the MLB to lower the penalty as they feel as though that would allow teams to more freely spend their money, and sign the players that they want to sign without having to worry about the massive penalties if the spending limit is surpassed. The counter argument comes from the league saying that doing so would put a great disadvantage on the smaller market teams and favor the large market teams in major cities across the country.

At an MLBPA press conference Max Scherzer referred to the current tax system saying, “We’re seeing it act as a salary cap. No other way can be shown, point blank, plain and simple, than the San Diego Padres having a higher payroll than the New York Yankees.”

Commissioner Rob Manfred argued by saying “We have a payroll disparity problem and to weaken the only mechanism in the agreement that’s designed to promote some semblance of competitive balance is just something that I don’t think that the club groups are prepared to do right now.”

Other topics of discussion between the two sides include Major League minimum salary, bigger bases, and the pre-arbitration pool.

Many players have taken their frustration public to social media. Mike Trout said on his Instagram last week, “I want to play, I love our game, but I know we need to get the CBA right. Instead of bargaining in good faith MLB locked us out. Instead of negotiating a fair deal Rob cancelled games. Players stand together. For our game, our fans, and for every player who comes after us. We owe it to the next generation.”

Yankees first baseman Anthony Rizzo tweeted “To the fans we will miss you the most. To the younger generation of baseball players, this is for you.”

As both sides continue talks, games will likely continue to be canceled further into the season until an agreement is reached. Whether you side with the players, owners, or neither, one thing that we can all agree on is that we need baseball back. It has served as a summer staple for over 145 years and without it, it just doesn’t feel the same.