ST. LOUIS–Major League Baseball’s pitchers and catchers were supposed to report for Spring Training this week, but won’t, with the league and its players locked in a labor stalemate now into its third month since owners started the lockout December 2.
Saturday’s negotiating session was only the fifth on core economics since the lockout began. The sides remained far apart on luxury tax thresholds and rate, with major differences on revenue-sharing and how to address players’ allegations of service time manipulation. MLB said it remains opposed to any increase in salary arbitration eligibility or reduction in revenue sharing.
Commissioner Rob Manfred has said that losing games to the lockout would be a “disastrous outcome”, but the clock is clearly ticking. It will take time to get players processed–into the country in many cases, through COVID protocols, and ready for even an abbreviated spring training game schedule of 2-3 weeks.
“I know the owners are worried about fans coming back. I know players are worried about being relevant,” St. Louis native and FOX broadcaster Joe Buck told FOX2 as part of an interview that will air Sunday.
“The problem is somebody has to blink and somebody has to give.”
Instead, the public has seen the parties unable to give on much of anything, except perhaps for a universal designated hitter. This weekend was the first time the owners and players had negotiated on a weekend.
With the NFL at an all-time high, and the NBA’s popularity, Buck said especially with younger audiences, baseball needs to be back out on the field.
“Something has to get done because they cannot test the patience of the public,” he said. “You can’t sit out and say woe is us.”
The Associated Press contributed information for this story