MLB Cancels Spring Games Through March 4 | News, Sports, Jobs

NEW YORK — Major League Baseball has canceled the first week of spring training games through March 4 in its first public acknowledgment of the disruption caused by the lockout.

The announcement came Friday as the work stoppage entered its 79th day, and a day later, talks on the economy between management and the Major League Baseball Players Association lasted just 15 minutes.

Negotiators are expected to resume negotiations on the core economy Monday in Jupiter, Fla., and MLB said members of the owners’ negotiating committee will attend the meeting, which will be only the seventh on key issues in the dispute since the lockout began on April 1 December 2nd is.

Spring training should have started this week and the show schedule on February 26th. 16 games were scheduled for the day, including World Series champion Atlanta Braves versus Boston in Florida and the renamed Cleveland Guardians versus Cincinnati in Arizona.

“We regret that without a collective agreement, we have to postpone the start of the spring training games until Saturday 5 March at the earliest”, MLB said in a statement. “All 30 clubs are united in their strong desire to get the players back on the pitch and the fans back in the stands.”

MLB informed the union that February 28 was the latest possible date to reach an agreement that would allow for a timely start to the season. The union did not respond to MLB on whether it agrees with that date or believes there is additional time.

The players issued a statement criticizing management for the suspension.

“Nothing required the league to delay the start of spring training any more than nothing required the league’s decision to implement the lockdown in the first place.” said the union. “Despite league decisions, players remain involved in the negotiation process.”

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said the lockout decision was made to control timing and prevent a late-season strike without a work contract, such as the August 1994 lockout that led to the first cancellation of the World Series in nine decades .

This is the third suspended spring training session in a row that is hurting local tourism economies in Florida and Arizona.

Games were canceled on March 12, 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in Opening Day being moved from March 26 to July 23 and cutting each team’s schedule from 162 to 60 games.

While spring training started on time last year, pandemic restrictions resulted in capacity constraints that depressed attendance.

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