MLB cancels first week of season and D-Backs’ opening road trip
PHOENIX, AZ — The Arizona Diamondbacks’ season-opening six-game road trip to Milwaukee and Los Angeles was canceled Tuesday along with 85 other Major League Baseball regular-season games after owners and players were unable to agree on a contract and bring an end to the lockout imposed by management.
The announcement was made Tuesday night by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, who said the first two series for each of MLB’s 30 teams would be scrapped and each team would play 156 games instead of 162.
It was the first time in 27 years – since the start of the 1995 season – that MLB lost regular season games to a work stoppage.
“We have exhausted all avenues of reaching an agreement before the games are canceled,” Manfred said at a press conference in Jupiter, Fla., according to The Associated Press. “We want baseball!”
For now, the D-backs’ home opener remains April 7 against the San Diego Padres. But he could also fall victim to the lockdown if owners and players still fail to agree on a contract to replace the collective bargaining agreement which expired on December 1.
Businesses across the Valley are already reeling from the cancellation of weeks of spring training games, and downtown businesses would suffer further lost revenue if the Diamondbacks start losing games at home at Chase Field.
The owners locked out the players on December 2, after the collective agreement expired.
The league announced the cancellation of the first week of spring training on February 18, indicating that no games would start until March 5. Last Friday, she said no game would be played until March 7.
The league believes the players need a month of spring training to prepare for the season, although what spring training would look like at this point, even if a deal were reached, remains unclear.
Talks between the owners and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) escalated Feb. 21 in Jupiter, Fla.
According to the AP, the two sides have made some progress in recent days, but have remained far apart on key economic issues such as: luxury tax thresholds, the size of a new bonus pool for players of pre-arbitration and minimum wages.
On Tuesday morning, the league sent players what it called a “best offer.” The players’ union reportedly held a Zoom call with 30-40 players to discuss the proposal, which it later rejected.
“In this environment of growing revenues and record profits for league owners, players seek and deserve nothing more than basic fairness,” MLBPA chief Tony Clark told the AP.
After the talks broke down, the owners and players announced they were leaving town. No date is set for the resumption of negotiations, according to the AP.
At 5:07 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Manfred announced the cancellation of regular season games.
“My deepest hope is that we get a deal quickly,” Manfred said, according to ESPN. “I’m really disappointed that we haven’t reached an agreement.”