MLB Lockout Ends; Season to Start April 7


Troy Lippman, Reporter

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Heading into this month, there was a big question on the minds of many baseball fans: Were we about to witness a season without baseball or was this beloved pastime going to return to fans cheering around the country?

Major League Baseball had been in a lockout since the start of December as there wasn’t enough urgency to get a deal done on a new collective bargaining agreement with the Major League Baseball Players’ Association. But luckily, both sides were recently able to come to an agreement Thursday, March 10.

The owners of Major League Baseball and the Players Union were unable to come to an agreement on a new CBA for 99 days after the previous one expired. The CBA is essentially a written agreement between the MLB and The MLBPA (players’ association) describing the financial side of baseball and the rules that they are employed under.

 This whole conflict revolved around money and what millionaires wanted (the players) versus what billionaires (the owners) wanted, and it was destroying the game of baseball with each passing day.

Baseball is already losing fans and trailing several other sports like football and basketball in viewership and popularity. The players deserve better, however, especially young players, who deserve fair compensation. The game of baseball has more talented young players than ever before playing at the highest level in the sport and contributing to big-league clubs. 

Several young players who have been impacted negatively by the former agreement in place are faces of the league that deserve to be paid their worth and higher than what they currently make, like Shohei Ohtani, Ronald Acuna Jr, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

The owners had instituted this lockout and currently hold the power to stop any free agent and contract negotiations during the offseason as well as prevent players from going to team facilities to train, receive physical therapy, or interact with coaches, among other things. 

It has been a long, isolated offseason like no other with players having to work out and prepare for the season before it was eventually reached. It had been difficult without being able to go into facilities to condition for the upcoming season. It was a very frustrating time for the game of baseball.

 As negotiations moved along, the most important economic issues that held up the deal for such a long time were things like minimum salary players make on a daily basis. Also an issue was the luxury tax threshold that each team must abide by in order to limit how much money is spent on a roster of players by taxing teams who go over the threshold. 

They were able to agree on things like an expanded postseason, universal designated hitter, and banning the shift after this year. Free agents who were without a team for so long are now able to be signed before spring training starts.

The MLBPA was frustrated by the decision to delay the season and canceled some games, but were soon able to reach a deal with those games (there will be a lot of doubleheaders this year). 

Most importantly, 162 games will be played and Opening Day will start April 7. Fans were very upset and just wanted to see the sport they love back in action instead of having to hear about constant fighting over financial issues between the two sides. 

It was definitely frustrating to have baseball in a lockout and not hear anything about it for a while. I went to several Dodgers games, where I had an overall thrilling experience. I remember seeing Mookie Betts hit a home run and feeling the crowd erupt, with thousands of fans jumping to their feet in excitement. The atmosphere inside the stadium was incredible.

Take a deep breath, baseball fans—the sport we all know and love is back and ready to get underway for what should be an exciting new season.