It’s March 1. The Yankees are hosting the Rays at Steinbrenner Field on a beautiful, sunny day in Tampa. Fans are excited because the regular season starts at the end of this month. Everything is good. But no. Major League Baseball has shown that they do not care about the fans, the players, or the popularity of their sport. It’s all been thrown in the trash.
Surprisingly smiley, commissioner Rob Manfred announced today that the first two regular-season series have been canceled and will not be made up. The players will not be compensated for those missed games. This means that we will have at most a 156-game season, but even that is wishful thinking.
MLB has canceled the first two series of the season.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 1, 2022
I don’t have to be the one to tell you this, but this sucks. The league has not had a full, normal season since 2019. There was little to no reason why an agreement could not have been made over the last three months. The 2022 season should have been one surrounded with much positive energy, with us finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel of a global pandemic and a bunch of young, exciting stars ready to make an impact for the better on the sport. Yet here we are. March 1st. No baseball.
The players’ contingent is leaving Florida. Even though it is being reported the two sides plan to meet in New York to continue negotiations, we as fans are left truly wondering when the next time we will see baseball.
Statement from the Major League Baseball Players Association: pic.twitter.com/rmpciPsQm4
— MLBPA Communications (@MLBPA_News) March 1, 2022
The players and the owners have been going at it for many hours over the last week, and we still hear that they are far apart on many key issues. If regular-season cancellations were inevitable, then April is obviously the best time. Worse weather, kids still in school. The owners were always fine with that. But we are a measly few weeks away from having to cancel games in May. Then June. Then July. They’ve made little to no progress over the last three months that they’ve had to hammer out a new deal. Does anyone really believe they can bridge their differences in the next few weeks?
It has become evident that the owners simply do not care about the fans or the product. They only care about fans who spend money on tickets, merchandise, and concessions. If you don’t, you’re just another useless pawn to them. As long as they maximize their profits, they don’t care. We all know that the players and the fans are what makes baseball great. Yet here we are, without the national pastime because the owners want to get the extra dollar. I get it, it’s a business. Baseball is very profitable. I’m no businessman, but I can almost guarantee that the owners can still make a good amount of money even if they give in to a few of the players’ demands.
Am I completely absolving the players of any blame? No, but the owners imposed the lockout, took a month and a half to respond to any offer, and now are trying to spin a narrative that it is all the players’ fault. The last time MLB missed games because of a labor dispute was in 1994. There was no social media back then. Fans weren’t as in the know as they are today. We all know roughly what is going on in these negotiations. We know the offers.
Yet today the commissioner came out and emphasized that both sides are to blame. The same man who said that they never used the phrase “last, best final offer” even though it had been reported by many credible reporters. That the fans are their top consideration. That missing games would be disastrous for the league. All lies. Everyone knows it. We have the information. In a matter of minutes, a tweet can reach millions that encourages people to boycott going to games. Will that actually happen? Probably not, but the power of social media lies in its ability to connect many people in little time.
Baseball has been declining in popularity for years now. Us fans know it, the players know, the owners know it. They had a chance to bring some credibility back to the sport by allowing us to have a normal season. They even had a chance to strike a deal over the past week and have a chance to hold the whole sports community in their hand by having an incredible burst of free agency signings and trades in a short time period. Yet they blew it. And now we will be missing Opening Day. And who’s to say how much more will miss…