MLB Lockout Continues, No End in Sight

John “JJ” Misiewicz
Sports Writer

On December 2nd, Major League Baseball, again, began a lockout between the league’s owners and the Player’s Association. This means that there will not be any games played until issues are resolved between these two entities. Lockouts are not so uncommon in the world of sports, and this is certainly not a first-time occurrence for the game of baseball. In 1994, the players went on strike, which resulted in no postseason baseball and some players being picked up literally off the street just so the rest of that season could be played.

Rob Manfred (pictured) has been caught in the crossfire between the MLBPA and the Owners (Photo courtesy of the Chicago Tribune)

The point of contention is in the collective bargaining agreement. Every few years there is a collective bargaining agreement that is signed between the owners of all thirty MLB teams, as well as the players association. Aspects such as player salaries and even aspects of the offseason such as free agency, are discussed between the two parties. In theory, the middleman during these negotiations is supposed to be the commissioner, Rob Manfred. However, Manfred, along with every other MLB commissioner, gets voted in by the owners and, thus, works for them. In negotiations like this, some claim that Manfred is forced to take the owners’ side over the players. A fact that has not gone unnoticed by fans as Manfred is consistently considered the worst commissioner in all of sports and some zealous baseball fans claim he is trying to ruin the game.

Before the 1994 season, the players had control of all of the negotiations when the CBA had expired, winning nearly every time. Every time the CBA expired, there was some type of strike or lockout. However, since 1994, the owners have had the leg up, and the players are growing agitated again. Player salaries have gone down since 2015, while owners seem not to feel it. Around 60% of major leaguers are making less than $1 million. So although the money is there for marquee free agents, most average players feel taken advantage of and feel they aren’t getting paid what they think they should.

Some of the demands the owners are making include making the time before players can reach free agency longer, more revenue sharing, and a lowering of the luxury tax threshold. In a sport without a salary cap, the luxury tax threshold serves as one, with teams forced to pay a certain amount if they go over it. Revenue sharing basically means that big market teams like the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers have to share revenue with small market teams like the Tampa Bay Rays and the Oakland Athletics. The players union, among other demands, want the luxury tax completely removed, they want teams to have a higher minimum salary, a universal designated hitter, and the abolishment of revenue sharing. All of these demands by the players are in order to encourage teams to spend more money.

Neither side has budged in terms of negotiations as the season fast approaches. But as days pass, the pressure heightens to get a deal done. Spring training is set to start on February 26th with the full 162 game season starting on March 31st. One thing is for certain, if the actual season gets shortened, both the owners and players will lose money. If it reaches that point, eventually some compromises will be made.


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