The threat has been issued. The MLB has set a deadline for Monday to agree on a new collective bargaining agreement; A league spokesperson stated that opening day (March 31) will be postponed if no agreement is reached by then. Regular season matches will be canceled and will not be rescheduled.
Although the MLB and the players’ union finally showed a slight sense of urgency to end the shutdown by meeting daily this week, the two sides are still far from agreeing on multiple fronts. I see no reason to believe the season will start on time – Joel Sherman provides a guide for pessimists and optimists – and now I’m just wondering how many (how few?) games will MLB give us this season.
I expect there will be pain before there is progress. When revenue is lost and paychecks are lost, good faith negotiations will begin. Each side is willing to lose some money because they know they are going to lose a few customers. Fans take it for granted with good reason. Sports sunk its tentacles into us when we were young, and lifelong passions are unlikely to be destroyed by the bickering of the obscene rich. Unfortunately, labor disputes in sports are now part of the package. It’s just a matter of how devastating each story will be.
Hopefully this shutdown will be over before it joins the list of these miserable chapters in sports history: