MLB and the Players Association haven’t been able to agree on a new collective bargaining agreement, or CBA.
That is the document governing every matter associated with the league, payment, players, and other regulations.
Not only have they not hammered out a new CBA yet (the previous one expired on December 1, 2021), but both parties are very far apart in negotiations.
There is a feeling among players and fans that owners, in this case representing MLB, don’t really care about them.
MLB Doesn’t Care About The Consequences Of Its Decisions
There is little evidence to believe owners think about the fans when they so adamantly refuse to make concessions to players that look extremely fair.
But fairness is not really their game.
Owners make millions in TV revenue, ticket sales, merchandising (using the players’ name, of course), and other means, and they refuse to significantly raise the players’ minimum salary, for example.
The minimum salary for major leaguers is currently set at $570,500, and MLB is offering a raise to $600,000-$615,000.
That won’t even cover the inflation cost.
Corrected math: MLB increasing its min salary offer from $600k to $615k is still nothing, a step backward in adjusted pay … Again, $1 in 2017, at the start of the last CBA, is worth $0.86 today. To keep up with inflation alone, the min would need to be $650k in 2022.
— Travis Sawchik (@Travis_Sawchik) January 25, 2022
This is a very important development in negotiations because over 60 percent of players in MLB fall into this category: league minimum salary, between zero and three years of service time.
There haven’t been many advances in minor leaguers’ compensation, even though MLB knows very well that what they have been doing to them is borderline exploitation.
When players offered the idea of a pool of money to compensate young stars with fewer than three years of service time, MLB offered a meager $10 million and is unwilling to move from there.
Players started asking for $105 million and moved to $100 million during this week’s bargaining sessions.
What do we have left after the rough negotiations and the tensions between owners and players?
Fans Are Missing Out On All The Fun
They are the ones missing out on an exciting offseason in which there are still several top targets.
They are the ones not knowing whether to buy tickets to spring training games or not (which are scheduled to start on February 26, and there is no way they are played on that date at this point).
They are the ones currently not able to follow their favorite players’ news on the league channels, accounts, and websites.
There are no meetings to watch games with friends, no watching baseball games at the stadium with the family, no betting, no fantasy baseball…nothing.
Basically, fans are the ones missing out on all the fun, while NFL and NBA fans enjoy exciting seasons.
We already saw, in 2020, how ugly these negotiations can be, and there is a great chance regular season games will be lost this year, too.
Basically, if that happens, it will be because MLB fails to think about its fans, and keeping them happy should be always be a priority.
After the 1994 strike, there was some backlash in ratings and attendance in stadiums, so it remains to be seen if fans “punish” owners by not showing up to see the games.
To MLB Players and Owners- Here’s an idea- sign a shorter CBA and get to playing before you loose more of your fan base.
In any case, there are no real winners in this situation, but there are two clear losers: non-star players and fans.