The negotiations between the players and the owners haven’t gotten off to a very good start, but I still have faith that we’ll see a full 2022 MLB season.
I’ll admit that I’m more than a little frustrated by the lack of progress between the two sides since the lockout began back at the beginning of December, especially because so little has been done to come together thus far. Earlier this week the league presented an offer to the Player’s Association, and it’s been reported by multiple outlets that the player’s side will come to the table with some sort of counter on Monday. It’s not at all expected that they’ll reach a deal this week, or but hopefully some progress will be made, and a commitment to continue talks will be in place going forward.
I can understand why many folks are starting to worry that the regular season could be delayed, or that the 2022 campaign could be in trouble in general. I’m not ready to go there just yet, and in fact, I’m still keeping the faith in this whole situation. I still believe they’ll be able to figure things out in time to play a 162 game season, for multiple reasons.
First and foremost, allow me to present one of the only silver linings I can find to the pandemic. Many people have learned the value of what’s most important to them, myself included, and I hope that both sides in this negotiation will remember the same. It wasn’t long ago that the stadiums were empty and the players were sitting at home, and to put it bluntly, no one should forget how much that sucked. Everyone missed the game when it was taken away from us, and both sides should be doing everything in their power to make sure that doesn’t happen again, especially so soon. From a financial perspective, no one is making money when the games aren’t being played either, and that should be all too familiar to both parties as well.
Secondly, and oddly enough another silver lining from the pandemic, is that we’ve learned to be more flexible than ever before over the last couple of years, and that includes in the sports world. I’ll concede that it’s possible that Spring Training and even the regular season may not start on time, but that doesn’t mean it necessarily has to be cut short. There will have to be an agreement in place sooner than later, but with creative schedules, 7-inning double-headers, and other solutions being used across the major sports leagues over the last few years, there is more flexibility there than ever before. We don’t treat things like a schedule or a 9-inning game with the same sacred attitude as we used to, and that’s okay, especially while we’re still dealing with an ongoing pandemic.
And last but not least, and this one is less logical and more of an emotional plea, but I’ll just come out and say that I need to keep the faith here. This pandemic has been hard on us all for various reasons, and I don’t know about you, but baseball has been one of the things that has kept me from losing my mind. I know how little that matters to this billion dollar negotiations going on at the moment, but I hope both sides stop to remember the fans while they’re arguing over the various talking points. I understand that the next CBA is very important, but so should the health of the sport. A lockout is the last thing the sport needs right now, and it’s dangerous to give the fans more time to learn to live without baseball.
Maybe I’m naive, but despite the fact that they’re still very far apart in negotiations, I choose to believe that we’ll still be watching baseball this spring.