Locked out MLB players set to respond on Thursday to owners’ plan
NEW YORK (AP) — Negotiations aimed at ending Major League Baseball’s lockout will resume Thursday.
The players’ association notified management Wednesday that it is ready to respond to the offer MLB made last weekend, proposals that were received coolly by the union.
Baseball’s ninth work stoppage, its first since 1995, enters its 78th day on Thursday, one day after spring training workouts had been scheduled to start.
There is little chance exhibition games will start as scheduled on Feb. 26, and the work stoppage soon will threaten opening day on March 31.
This is the third straight spring training that is far from normal following a 2020 cut short by the COVID pandemic and a 2021 with limited attendance due to health restrictions.
“I am an optimist and I believe we will have an agreement in time to play our regular schedule,” baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said at a news conference last Thursday. “I see missing games as a disastrous outcome for this industry, and we’re committed to making an agreement in an effort to avoid that.”
The 2020 regular season was shortened from 162 games per team to 60 games, and regular-season games were played in empty ballparks. Last year, only Texas began the season at 100% capacity, with other U.S, teams reaching full capacity availability ranging from Atlanta on May 7 to Seattle on July 2. MLB attendance was 45.3 million, down from 68.5 million over 2019.
And now, labor strife.
Manfred said last week that about four weeks of training would be needed, with additional time for ratification and players to travel to camps.
AP freelance writer Mark Didtler in Tampa, Florida, and AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum in New York contributed to this story.