The MLB and The Players Association Finally Make Deal After Almost 100 Days of Negotiations

The MLB season was postponed for over two months, and finally, hopes are up. The fighting, arguing, and negotiating for the growing needs of the players looks like it has come to an end.

After a rough 2021 season, the MLB owners and the Players Association started to negotiate the yearly Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). Since this is a yearly thing, no one was really worried, and definitely, no one thought it would end up in a lockout. Many fans blamed commissioner Rob Manfred for not listening to the players’ growing needs.

 “He’s doing a very poor job,” said 8th grader Henry Katz, a passionate MLB fan. ”He’s just a terrible commissioner.”

According to SportsNaut, the previous CBA was signed after the 2016 season, expiring in 2021. That’s when the madness started. It took 56 days for the Players Union and the MLB to begin negotiating. The players association was arguing for a new 12-team playoff, a universal designated hitter, advertising through jersey patches and helmet stickers, an international draft, and what fans were all hoping for, a set date for opening day. 

Once the negotiating started, things went downhill. Fans didn’t see an end in sight. The MLB held meetings 20 times in 9 weeks, with a stretch of 13 in 17 hours. For a while, nothing was happening. The meeting would go on, nothing would get agreed upon, and the next one would be scheduled. But then, it got worse. 

The committee could not come up with an agreement before the CBA deadline. Since they need a CBA, they would have to stretch the negotiations through opening day. That meant games were getting canceled. Commissioner Manfred canceled the first two series’ right away. That made many fans furious. 

“I think this is really stupid and a terrible outcome from the lockout,” said Katz. 

Finally, after almost 100 days of waiting and waiting, something happened. Something big. The MLB issued a statement saying that they had agreed upon a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. This included all of the things that the players association wanted, plus what all the fans were hoping for, a set date for opening day, April 7th.

“There was a lot of uncertainty at a point in time when there’s a lot of uncertainty in the world. Sort of the way the process of collective bargaining works sometimes,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred told ESPN. 

The new CBA resolved many growing issues that were concerning the players. One major win was the 12-team playoff.  Players felt this was necessary because it gives teams a better chance to compete, especially against a conference full of the best teams in the league. 

Another win for the players was changing the rules on designated hitters. In the National League, they do not have a designated hitter. Instead, they bat their pitcher when playing teams from the American League. This was painful for both the pitchers who had to spend time practicing to bat/bunt and for the coaches who had to bat their worst batters, possibly in a pressure situation. This was changed in the new CBA, and now both National and American Leagues have a designated hitter, a universal DH. 

One of the new agreements allows teams to advertise on their helmets and jerseys. This is big for the players because they can get publicity for either themselves or a charity they support. Especially for the rookies or the not as popular players, they can grow an image for themselves. They were originally the only big sport that did not allow patches. 

“We’ve seen tremendous growth from this asset [in terms of both] revenue and the caliber of brands, both domestic and global, that are partnering with our teams,” NBA president of team marketing and business operations Amy Brooks told Boardroom, an online sports business publication. According to Boardroom, the jersey patch program generated a combined value of $225 million for the 2021-22 season, doubling the league’s original estimates.

Lastly, the CBA now allows an international draft. This would be an add-on to the regular draft and give chances to players from anywhere in the world. Instead of a few players traveling to attempt to make it to a team, many players get a chance to prove their talent in the big leagues. 

So what now? Spring training has already started, and trades are going down. Fans are ecstatic, and things are looking great. Players are happy, and the season looks like it’s going to go very well.