By: Sam Kersh
Finally, baseball is back.
On Dec. 2, 2021, the MLB owners voted unanimously to lockout the players in spite of the 2016 collective bargaining agreement’s expiration. Over three, long months later, a new CBA has been agreed on – pen to paper.
Much was sacrificed to get to this moment, though. Ultimately, the failure of negotiations on both sides is not a good look for the sport, and begs the question:
Is baseball’s reputation permanently damaged?
Let's start from the beginning. When the owners initiated the lockout in December, the players suffered greatly. Access to team facilities was refused (meaning injured players could not be cared for), and the numerous free agents on MLB’s market were forced to halt any negotiations.
Furthermore, the bargaining process between the two sides certainly wasn’t pretty.
“What Rob Manfred characterized as a ‘defensive lockout’ is, in fact, the culmination of a decades-long attempt by owners to break our Player fraternity,” the MLBPA (Players Association) said in a statement regarding the lockout. “As in the past, this effort will fail. We are united and committed to negotiating a fair deal that will improve the sport for Players, fans and everyone who loves our game.”
What should be especially concerning to fans are the actions of MLB owners during this entire process. Many think the negotiations were a pointless process as “billionaires and millionaires” struggled to find an agreement on a labor agreement, mainly concerning money.
See, the problem is, not all players are millionaires. In fact, most aren’t.
In fact, the players who aren’t on million-dollar contracts are the ones suffering the most. Young players are rarely paid fairly (or based on their performance), and minor league players struggle to make livable wages. And that’s why the MLBPA was so stubborn throughout this entire process – somebody had to take a stand against the greedy, selfish owners.
“To the fans, we will miss you most. To the younger generation of baseball players, this is for you,” said star first baseman Anthony Rizzo, after Commissioner Rob Manfred canceled the first series of games in the 2022 MLB season.
Specifically, over the past 3 months, the MLB has constantly assured the media that the players are at fault, brainwashing many fans into siding with the owners. This is often overlooked, and the immaturity of the owners is a bad look for baseball.
"It’s really upsetting to see how the owners treated the players,” said junior Glenelg baseball player Alfonse Dello Russo. “Honestly, I just hated seeing this happen to a sport I love a lot.”
So, now that a new labor agreement has been agreed upon, it is best for us to move forward and get prepared for the new season. There is only a few weeks until opening day, and free agent signings along with trades will be ramping up quickly, which is very exciting.
“I am genuinely thrilled to be able to say that Major League Baseball is back and we're going to play 162 games,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said.
Alright, play ball! But let’s not forget about what it took to get here.