It took a day longer than expected, but MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred announced Tuesday that the start of the 2022 regular season has been cancelled. That announcement comes after nine straight days of negotiations in Jupiter, Florida and on the 90th day of the lockout.
“I had hoped against hope I wouldn’t have to have this press conference where I am going to cancel some regular season games,” Manfred said. “I want to assure our fans that our failure to reach an agreement was not due to a lack of effort by either party.”
Manfred later said that he was cancelling the first two series of the regular season. The Braves are scheduled to play the first four games of the regular season in Miami against Marlins from March 31 through April 3. Their next series was a two game trip to New York to face the Mets on April 4 and 5. Manfred reiterated that due to the difficulty of rescheduling that those games won’t be made up and that players will not be paid for missed games.
Both sides met off and on for 16 hours Monday night ahead of MLB’s stated February 28 deadline. The league extended their deadline until 5 p.m. Tuesday, but talks fell apart during the afternoon as the gap was still too wide on several issues including the Competitive Balance Tax and the pre-arbitration bonus pool. Despite that marathon session, the truth is that the two sides were never really close to a deal.
MLB owners instituted a lockout on December 2. Manfred called that a necessary mechanism to protect the 2022 season in a letter to fans. He and the owners then waited 43 days before presenting a proposal to the players. At the end of the day, those 43 days may have proven beneficial.
I want to explain to you how we got here and why we have to take this action today. Simply put, we believe that an offseason lockout is the best mechanism to protect the 2022 season. We hope that the lockout will jumpstart the negotiations and get us to an agreement that will allow the season to start on time. This defensive lockout was necessary because the Players Association’s vision for Major League Baseball would threaten the ability of most teams to be competitive. It’s simply not a viable option. From the beginning, the MLBPA has been unwilling to move from their starting position, compromise, or collaborate on solutions.
Then on February 10, Manfred said that missing regular season games would be a disastrous outcome for the sport.
“I see missing games as a disastrous outcome for this industry, and we’re committed to making an agreement in an effort to avoid that,”
Apparently he and the owners weren’t committed enough.
UPDATE - The MLBPA released a statement in response to the league’s cancellation of regular season games.