Major League Baseball made it clear on Wednesday that a 162-game 2022 season is in serious jeopardy. If the league and the Players Association don't agree on a new collective bargaining agreement by Monday, games will begin being cancelled and not made up.
While the two sides have been talking and making progress this week, they still remain far from a deal. At this point it feels inevitable that games will be cancelled. Which means it's the second time on Rob Manfred's watch that MLB won't complete a full season. While the shortened 2020 season can't be laid at his feet, this time around certainly can.
The owners locked the players out on December 2 as a way to jumpstart negotiations on a new CBA. Rather than actually do that, they waited 43 days to even make an offer to the players. Now there's a time crunch because the players haven't folded as the owners likely assumed they would. Talk about your all-time backfires.
Of course, the owners could end the lockout at any time so players could get to spring training and start prepping for the season. That would allow everyone to be ready to start the campaign as soon as a deal is finally struck. But the owners patently refuse to make what is the obvious move.
The owners have put everyone in this position. If games are cancelled, the players will wind up making less money in 2022, but so will the owners. There are all self-inflicted wounds and it's absurd. The players have budged considerably in negotiations, while the owners have barely moved off their initial positions. The blame for this lies with Manfred and his cohorts.
All fans want is a full 162-game season. And, once again, MLB is likely to deny them that over petty differences. The sport continues to shoot itself in the foot. Manfred & Co. simply can't help themselves.