Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association met today for the first time since players were locked out on December second.
The subject? Core economics.
How’d it go? ESPN’s Jeff Passan:
Baseball labor update: There is no deal. There never was going to be one today. MLB made a proposal. The reaction among the players was not positive. Few on either side expected it to be. The question is how soon the MLBPA counters. Spring training starting on time is in peril.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 13, 2022
Considering this whole thing’s been brewing for a while, that even the most optimistic optimist expected any progress on the first try is ludicrous. As The Athletic’s Evan Drellich writes:
Both sides are betting that the calendar pressures the other. Owners are hoping that as time passes, and players consider that they may have to lose paychecks, they’ll acquiesce. The same is true in the opposite direction: players are banking that if owners look up and see their gates and their broadcast revenues under threat, they’ll bend. Both sides appear interested to test the other’s resolve, which isn’t great news for fans.
As one of the small-market teams that stand to benefit—or lose, depending on your viewpoint—from whatever’s decided, the Pirates should settle in for the long haul. As far as spring training goes, it should be remembered that players don’t get paid during it other than a per diem. Back in the day, spring training was basically whipping a bunch of guys into shape who’d spent the winter drinking beer and goofing off. Now, an MLB player trains all year round. Maybe they don’t have access to their coaches and facilities during a lockout, but they’re building batting cages and pitching mounds in their backyards. It’s not quite the panic situation Passan makes it out to be, but I know, social media.
It’s my opinion that MLB players would be willing to shorten or even sacrifice spring training if it meant getting what they wanted.
Just don’t mess with April—that’s when the paychecks come in.