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MLB enters lockout as new CBA talks fail

The latest a new agreement can be reached without any missed game time is early March.

2 December 2021 PA

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Major League Baseball (MLB) has locked out its players for the first time since 1990 in a labour dispute with the Major League Baseball Players’ Association (MLBPA).

The two sides have spent the last three days in talks, with the union and league exchanging proposals that, as with the previous ones, did not impress the other side and illustrated the distance from securing a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA). According to ESPN, the final discussions on 1st December lasted just seven minutes.

Reports suggest that the next 90 days will be crucial, with the latest a new agreement can be reached without any missed game time is early March. The three previous lockouts did not result in any regular season games being missed.

According to ESPN, hope that teams’ big spending in free agency would translate into CBA progress at the Four Seasons Dallas at Las Colinas did not come to fruition, as both sides made little headway in talks.

In a statement, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said he was ‘so disappointed’ with the development.

‘As we began to emerge from one of the darkest periods in our history, our ballparks were filled with fans; the games were filled with excitement; and millions of families felt the joy of watching baseball together,’ Manfred said.

‘That is why I am so disappointed about the situation in which our game finds itself today.

‘Despite the league’s best efforts to make a deal with the players’ association, we were unable to extend our 26 year-long history of labour peace and come to an agreement with the MLBPA before the current CBA expired. Therefore, we have been forced to commence a lockout of major league players, effective at 12.01am ET on 2nd December.’

The MLBPA also issued a statement, calling the lockout ‘a dramatic measure, regardless of the timing’.

It read: ‘It was the owners’ choice, plain and simple, specifically calculated to pressure players into relinquishing rights and benefits, and abandoning good faith bargaining proposals that will benefit not just players, but the game and industry as a whole.

‘These tactics are not new. We have been here before, and players have risen to the occasion time and again – guided by a solidarity that has been forged over generations. We will do so again here.

‘We remain determined to return to the field under the terms of a negotiated collective bargaining agreement that is fair to all parties, and provides fans with the best version of the game we all love.’

Strikes wiped out the 1994 World Series and lasted into 1995 and came after eight work stoppages in the previous 23 years. Since then labour peace had corresponded with immense growth in the game’s revenues as MLB and the MLBPA successfully negotiated five CBAs without a work stoppage.

Now, MLB faces its ninth work stoppage and fourth lockout without an obvious path towards a deal.

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