IRVING, Texas (AP) — Major League Baseball plunged into its first work stoppage in a quarter-century when the sport's collective bargaining agreement expired, and owners immediately locked out players in a move that threatened spring training and opening day.
The strategy, management's equivalent of a strike under federal labor law, ended the sport's labor peace after 9,740 days over 26 1/2 years.
In a letter to fans, baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said, "We believe that an offseason lockout is the best mechanism to protect the 2022 season. We hope that the lockout will jumpstart the negotiations and get us to an agreement that will allow the season to start on time. This defensive lockout was necessary because the players’ association’s vision for Major League Baseball would threaten the ability of most teams to be competitive.”
Teams decided to force the long-anticipated confrontation during an offseason rather than risk players walking out during the summer, as they did in 1994.
Players and owners had successfully reached four consecutive agreements without a work stoppage.
This is now the league's fourth lockout, the Associated Press reported.
According to the news outlet, the lockout impacts teams signing players, which they spent $1.4 billion in salaries Wednesday.
The league also canceled its annual winter meetings in Florida for the second year in a row.
Players are also banned from team workout facilities and weight rooms.