Opening Day will have to wait for another day. Major League Baseball has officially cancelled the first two series of the regular season after players and owners failed to reach a deal by Tuesday’s deadline.
“The calendar dictates that we’re not going to be able to play the first two series of the regular season,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said at a new conference on Tuesday, “and those games are officially cancelled.”
The MLB Players Association responded with a statement that read in part: “Against the backdrop of growing revenues and record profits, we are seeking nothing more than a fair agreement… We are united and committed to negotiating a fair deal that will improve the sport for players, fans and everyone who loves our game.”
Major League Baseball’s team owners first locked out the players in December after the collective bargaining agreement expired, marking the game’s first work stoppage in more than 25 years. The sticking point, of course, is money, with the players pushing for higher pay for young players early in their careers. The lockout means that players are barred from all team activity and will not be paid until a deal is reached.
Spring training was already set to begin last month, with Opening Day originally set for March 31. But with the cancellations, the earliest the 2022 season could now start is April 8. Both sides will continue negotiating, but it’s unclear when players will actually get back on the field.
Earlier this week, MLB.TV — which streams out-of-market games for an annual subscription fee — announced they would not auto-renew annual subscriptions on March 1, adding in an update that “notification about renewal will occur once a new [collective bargaining agreement] is in effect.”