For years, MLB fans knew they were about to enjoy the thrill of spring training starting and pitchers and catchers reporting to camps shortly after the Super Bowl.
The most important game of the NFL season usually takes place within the first 15 days of February.
After the Super Bowl ends, it usually is baseball season.
It has become sort of a go-to phrase among baseball enthusiasts over the years, especially now that social media took over our lives.
However, this year, that’s not the case.
The Usual “It’s Now Baseball Season” Phrase Has No Current Meaning
The league is missing out on the post-Super Bowl hype because, well, there is no set date for the season to begin.
In fact, at this point, teams don’t even know when spring training will officially begin.
The reason for the delay is because MLB and the Players Association haven’t been able to hammer out the details of a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
The old one expired on December 1, 2021, and both parties need to negotiate a new document in order to start planning for the season.
The problem is that they are not close to announcing an agreement.
Therefore, there is no spring training, post-Super Bowl hype this year.
Fans will have to wait as both sides overcome their differences.
Sometimes, it seems more likely that James Harden will shave his beard than MLB owners and players finally agreeing on something.
Fans have already waited long enough: first, in 2020, when both parties argued over revenue sharing and prorated pay in the pandemic year, among other things.
The issue at hand has other implications, but the root of the problem remains the same: money.
Players basically want a bigger piece of the cake while playing on a fully competitive league, with no tanking teams and/or service time manipulation.
They also want owners to increase the competitive balance tax (CBT) threshold and eliminate, or soften, the penalties applied to teams if they exceed the soft cap number.
Owners want things to remain the same as the last CBA deal (2017-21), or implement some minor changes that won’t impact their pockets so much.
Players Will Fight For Better Opportunities
Players are not messing around, though.
Last week, New York Mets star Francisco Lindor implied that the union may be ready to lose games in order to get a deal they like.
Francisco Lindor on the willingness of the MLBPA to miss any regular season games:
"We want a good deal. We want to play a full season, but if that's what it comes down to, we'll continue to come to the table and bring good things." pic.twitter.com/NMihnq3TaZ
— SNY (@SNYtv) February 10, 2022
They know they have to apply some pressure to owners, who have been extremely inflexible in negotiations to this point.
Proof of that is the enormous gap there is in the proposed amount of money for the bonus pool destined to outstanding players between 0-3 years of service.
The Players Association is proposing the league to contribute $100 million for the money pool (intended as a way to incentivize players in their first three years in MLB making the league minimum to perform and get bonuses), while owners just increased their initial offer of $10 million to $15 million on Saturday.
MLB raised its bonus pool offer to $15M from $10M for exceptional players with 1-3 years of service time. Players union had lowered its ask from $105M to $100M in last offer. So both sides with small steps there. Much more compromising needed.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 12, 2022
They also don’t want to offer a sizable increase in the league’s minimum salary, currently at $570,500.
Their latest offer was $630,000 as a flat amount or a tiered scheme that didn’t satisfy the union.
In any case, the odds of starting spring training on time (in a few days) are slim to none.
The start of the season, as a result, is likely to be pushed back as well.
It should be baseball season, but it isn’t.
It’s baseball SZN!
— Jake Diekman (@JakeDiekman) February 14, 2022