Striking Out in Reality — The MLB Faces Another Work Stoppage

By: Jenna Mandarano

A photo of a fan in Jupiter, Florida protesting the MLB Lockout. (Kyodo News / Getty Images)

The “off season,” or the months where no Major League Baseball (MLB) games are played, happens during the winter season. It typically begins in late October or early November — depending on when the World Series finishes, and ends in late March or early April — whichever month Opening Day lands on. Spring Training, where players report to Scottsdale, Arizona to get back into shape and play practice games to get ready for the upcoming season, also happens during the off season. Pitchers and catchers typically report to Spring Training in February, while all other players report in March.

Before Spring Training hits, players like to enjoy their off days like anyone else. Some partake in paid promotions, travel with their families or go back to their hometown — basically do whatever they want.

However, the 2021–2022 Off Season wasn’t as smooth sailing as it usually is. The 2016 MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) expired on December 1, 2021. This is an agreement between the MLB and the MLBPA (Major League Baseball Players Association). Due to this, the MLB owners unanimously decided to enact a lockout in order to discuss a new agreement. The lockout ultimately lasted three months and caused changes to the off season and Spring Training.

First Voice: MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred / Second Voice: Jenna Mandarano / Third Voice: Mark Sigmon

What Were the Other Work Stoppages Like?

Two baseball fans hold up signs, expressing their feelings about the 1994–95 MLB work stoppage. (Getty Images)

The two types of work stoppages the MLB has previously faced are strikes and lockouts. A lockout is initiated by the team owners and ultimately prevents any work to take place. This includes both the management’s side and the players’ side. A strike is initiated by the players and is, in essence, a refusal to work.

A fan holds up two signs in protest of the 1994–95 MLB work stoppage. (Getty Images)

Needless to say, work stoppages happen when there is a disagreement between the technical sides of baseball. Here are some key things to know, explained in simple terms:

A graphic depicting some important technical baseball terms. (Jenna Mandarano / J395)

Here’s a quick summary of what went down during each work stoppage.

Graphics depicting the the history of work stoppages in the MLB. (Jenna Mandarano / J395)

Running Through the 2021–22 Lockout

Graphics depicting what occurred during the 2021–22 MLB Lockout. (Jenna Mandarano / J395)

The 2021–22 MLB Lockout began on December 2, 2021, which marked the expiration of the previous CBA. The prior CBA was enacted in 2016.

After multiple all-day meetings and many postponements, a new CBA was agreed upon on March 10. Some of the aspects the new agreement addresses are:

  • The new CBA will last from now until December 1, 2026.
  • Players report to Spring Training by March 11, 2022.
  • Opening Day is on April 7, 2022.
  • A full, 162 game schedule, will take place.
  • The regular season will be extended by 3 days to allow teams to play one of the two series that have gotten postponed. The remaining series will take place in doubleheaders. (Where two games are played back-to-back in a day).
  • The playoffs will be expanded to include more games and to accommodate more teams.
  • There will be a universal designated hitter, meaning pitchers won’t go up to bat. The American League has already taken part in this in seasons prior.
  • The minimum salary for the major league has increased to $700,000 and will continue to increase by $20,000 through 2026.
  • The Luxury Tax has increased.

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