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Rob Manfred and MLB Owners Just Kneecapped Their Sport. Again.

Ryan Phillips
Rob Manfred, 2021 Gatorade All-Star Workout Day
Rob Manfred, 2021 Gatorade All-Star Workout Day / Justin Edmonds/GettyImages
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Major League Baseball's owners just can't get out of their own way. At a time when it's never been more profitable to own a franchise, with soaring revenues and team values, the owners -- who are billionaires -- are squabbling over pennies. That pointless arguing over what is a pittance in the grand scheme of things, has now led to the cancellation of actual regular season games. While the owners will blame the players, don't fall for it. There is only one side to blame for this.

The owners locked the players out on December 2. Their stated purpose for doing so was to jumpstart negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement. They then waited 43 days to even make an offer to the MLB Players Association. As negotiations have now gone past a self-imposed deadline for cancelling games, it seems like those 43 days of nothingness in December and January could have been used a bit better.

On top of that, the owners could have lifted the lockout weeks ago and allowed spring training to go on while negotiations continued. If that had happened, the two side would have had until Opening Day to reach a deal. Instead, here we are.

The players are asking for things that would only make the game better. The main asks are increases to MLB's minimum salaries that are in-line with the increases in inflation since the last CBA, to raise the luxury tax threshold to encourage more spending, and they want a larger pre-arbitration bonus pool to players. None of those asks is particularly daunting. Yet the owners refuse to work out the differences.

The owners have already won huge concessions like expanded playoffs, advertising on jerseys and keeping current rules for free agency eligibility -- players must complete six major league seasons to be eligible.

Because of their obstinance, the first two series of the regular season have now been canceled. Those games aren't getting put back on the schedule, they are gone forever.

Back in 1994 and 1995, games were canceled and it caused critical damage to the sport. Fans threw up their hands and walked away. They didn't come back until two guys who were juiced to their gills started hitting dingers. The owners were at fault then, when they tried to institute a salary cap and wound up attempting to use replacement players. This time, they're balking at giving players more money when revenues are at record levels. It's mind-boggling.

Don't buy the narrative MLB will pitch that the players are being unreasonable. The owners are at fault here.

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