MLB postpones spring training, promises meetings ‘every day’

Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium in Jupiter, Florida

Major League Baseball’s 2022 schedule has officially felt the effects of the lockout.

On Friday, MLB announced that spring training would be postponed, pushing the start of Grapefruit and Cactus League games to no sooner than March 5. The original schedule had games set to begin Feb. 25-26, but the league made the inevitable official Friday with no end in sight to the ongoing negotiations with the Major League Baseball Players Association.

“We regret that, without a collective bargaining agreement in place, we must postpone the start of Spring Training games until no earlier than Saturday, March 5th,” MLB said in a statement obtained by NBC News. “All 30 Clubs are unified in their strong desire to bring players back to the field and fans back to the stands. The Clubs have adopted a uniform policy that provides an option for full refunds for fans who have purchased tickets from the Clubs to any Spring Training games that are not taking place.

“We are committed to reaching an agreement that is fair to each side. On Monday, members of the owners’ bargaining committee will join an in-person meeting with the Players Association and remain every day next week to negotiate and work hard towards starting the season on time.”

The move was expected with negotiations extending past the typical report date for pitchers and catchers, most of whom would’ve already been in camp by the end of this week. MLB’s owners initiated the lockout on Dec. 2 and the two sides have exchanged several proposals with reportedly little movement on either side toward compromise.


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MLBPA is seeking widespread changes on key issues across the sport, including everything from minimum salaries and arbitration structure to competitive integrity and the competitive balance tax. While the league has been willing to adopt a universal DH and draft lottery system, changes to revenue sharing and a decrease in the amount of service time required to hit free agency have been non-starters.

Commissioner Ron Manfred said in a press conference on Feb. 10 that missing regular-season games would be a “disastrous” outcome for the sport. The owners set a deadline of Feb. 28 for reaching an agreement in order to start the season on time. If Opening Day is going to happen March 31 as planned, there’s going to need to be significant progress made in next week's meetings.