By: Adrian Lee
The crowd is cheering and the stadium is going wild. Speakers are echoing in the background. The parking lot is filled with cars. Baseball is back from a long big delay. Baseball has been in a lockout from December 2, 2021, to March 20, 2022. This lockout, the first time since 2016, has delayed baseball for about 3 months. Fans during that time were not happy.
The lockout started due to players wanting more money and owners wanting to pay the players less money. The two sides couldn’t reach an agreement on some of the issues: length of season, player wages, and free agency. The owners enacted a lockout. Lockout is literally just a name, but it means locking out the players in relation to any activities associated with the team. Players are not being paid during the lockout and they are not allowed to use any facilities for training. This is a tactic the team used to place pressure on the players so they would agree with the owners. This debate is an ongoing issue where the 2022 spring season had to be delayed. This is not upset to the team, but an upset to the fans wanting to watch baseball.
Players have taken to social media to summarize what the union wants. The union asked for better compensation for players with 0-3 years of service time. The players want to put an end to the owners sabotaging the team by losing and not being competitive. Bringing up young players who aren’t ready for the big leagues, and adding an extra year of team control on the player is something that the players want an end to.
Owners just want to get as much money as possible which means not paying the players more money. To get that, they are not allowing the players to reach free agencies sooner. Owners also want to have DHs in both leagues and expand playoffs which allows them to increase revenue.
In the end, both the owners and players came to an agreement on March 10, 2022, the 99th day of the lockout. During that period, they agreed that twelve teams would be in the postseason, an increase of two extra teams. The owners asked for fourteen teams but soon agreed on twelve. Designated Hitters (DH) are now allowed in the National League. This will be the first time that National League teams will have a DH. This will make the game more exciting as it provides more offensive action and fifteen new starting jobs for players. Clubs are also allowed to have sponsorship. Decals on helmets and patches on jerseys will now be shown for the sponsor. As stated on CBSsports.com, the players and owners have agreed to have a minimum salary raised from $570,000 to $700,000 in 2022 and more for subsequent years. This is the biggest single-year increase for the minimum salary. The league and owners also have gained the power to implement rule changes for the 2023 season, including a pitch clock; restrictions on defensive positioning and shifting; and the installation of larger bases. These are all to increase run-scoring and make the game more exciting for fans.
A student from JLS who’s a baseball fan, Jace Peavy says, “I just want to watch baseball as a fan. I don’t like it when the players and owners are fighting for money.”
In the end, It took 99 days from the start of the lockout (Dec. 2) for a deal to get done, thus making this the longest lockout in league history, as well as the first to compromise the regular season. This agreement will change the future of baseball as time goes on. But everyone is just happy to play ball.