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MLB News: It's Not Looking Good For the 2022 Season

The owners are going to test the players resolve down to the last.

I was nine years old when MLB's 1994 season was stopped dead, as the players walked out. I could not understand it at the time. All I knew is that an exciting baseball season had been halted and brought to its knees. 

Tony Gwynn was batting .394 the day baseball stopped in 1994. I didn't need to consult Baseball Reference. I knew that one from memory. The Montreal Expos were six games up on the Atlanta Braves and poised to make a deep playoff run. The last playoff run for those Expos came in 1981 which was another strike-shortened season. Heartbreaking. My Los Angeles Dodgers were holding on to a razor-thin 3.5 game lead in the NL West. The New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox were duking it out in the American League. The strike stopped it all. Unfortunately as people say, history repeats itself.

Stalemate

Per Evan Drellich at The Athletic, the owners are willing to wait the players out. Unfortunately, the logic of this entire struggle leaves all the power in the hands of the owners. 

It's a common misconception and misunderstood idea that "why are we watching arguments between millionaires and billionaires." Well first of all, "billionaire" and "millionaire" are not close in comparison. Millionaires are much closer to the average reader of this article, statistically speaking. Second, a large majority of MLB players are not millionaires. Third, labor always loses to ownership, and nobody should be siding with the latter. 

MLB has fans paying to see the players, not the owners. 50 people owning billions of dollars versus a thousand player isn't equitable, but that's not nearly the biggest issue putting the 2022 season in jeopardy. What is putting it in jeopardy is that due to the aforementioned circumstances, the owners know the players will suffer more if they stand their ground.

Drelich writes

"If you accept the premise that the players failed in the last round of negotiations (or two), then a significant part of that failure was owed to their acquiescence. Players didn’t push hard enough. What players have done thus far in these talks, then, is correct course: They have been willing to tell the owners, repeatedly, “this is not good enough.” And it’s worth noting, in real time, what happens when players choose the alternative path: the owners greeted the players in December with a lockout, and there’s been virtually no progress since."

For those who are labored by all the politics and money of this, I can boil what the players want down to three things mentioned in the article.

"MLB is saying it won’t touch key areas where changes can add up to big dollars very quickly: time to free agency, time to arbitration and revenue sharing."

The Bottom Line

It's going to come down to the players, unfortunately. How badly do they want change? 

Their resolve is going to be tested to its full limitations. Unfortunately, the fans resolve will probably be tested the same way. If there is a prolonged strike, will the fans come back? Between the COVID-19 pandemic and the change in MLB's demographic, MLB should be wary. Not everyone (like myself) may be patiently waiting and ready to dive back in.