An MLB Lockout Update and Why it Doesn’t Look to Be Ending Anytime Soon


Photo courtesy Talking Chop

The game of baseball, and specifically Major League Baseball, has provided so much joy to so many people throughout the past century. I’m living proof that Major League Baseball has the ability to shape a person’s life in a positive way. I can’t begin to count the amount of sleepless and stressful nights where I was comforted by the voices of such revered broadcasters such as Vin Scully, Bob Costas, or Joe Davis. When times got dark, MLB was always there to comfort me, pick me back up, and give me hope that everything would be okay. I’ve seen the impact that a simple game with a bat and a glove can have on my life. Yet the start of the 2022 season (which usually takes place in April), a simple pleasure that I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy for the majority of my 18 years on this earth, is currently on the verge of being postponed. 

How did we get here? Well, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association (MLBPA) are currently at a stalemate in their negotiations for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). A CBA is basically an agreement between the league/owners and players on how the league will be run for a certain period of time. MLB locked out the MLBPA, meaning that without a new CBA agreed upon by both sides, the April start date for the 2022 season is still up in the air. Basically, ever since the last CBA was agreed upon by both sides in 2016, it’s been an inevitability that some sort of lockout would occur. The players have every right to feel the way they do. Their main concern is that the owners are being greedy with their tens of billions of dollars. They cite the fact that the overall league payroll dropped 4% in 2021 compared to the last full season in the league. The total payroll was $4.05 billion, which is the lowest total payroll since 2015. This is absurd. While the total revenues for the clubs are unknown since the vast majority are private companies, there is much speculation that the revenues would indicate the need for vast upgrades in salaries for the players. 

I empathize with the players. If it’s a fight between billionaire owners and MLB players, I believe that the MLB Players and their needs should be met first and foremost. However, the lockout began on December 2nd of last year. We should be less than a month away from pitchers and catchers reporting for the beginning of Spring Training. Yet it seems like there has been no progress made on a deal between the two opposing sides. The main sticking points are that the players want higher minimum salaries and luxury tax thresholds to encourage spending by teams, and an increase in players with two-plus years of service time who become arbitration eligible (a process by which players can negotiate for higher salaries before reaching free agency). 

A deal needs to be struck, and it needs to be finalized quickly. If this lockout extends into the MLB season, millions of fans could lose interest in the game. We saw this happen in the 1994 Lockout, when millions of fans decided to abandon the game they love because of disputes between the players and owners over money. Major League Baseball cannot afford to have history repeated. Too much is at stake. The younger generation is already moving towards more “action-packed” and “exciting” sports such as football and basketball. The game needs to be focused on obtaining new fans, not alienating those who already love the game. I’m counting on the players and owners to come to a decision in a timely manner in order to ensure a bright future for the game that millions, including me, love so much.