Major League Baseball announced Friday that its exhibition schedule, originally slated to begin on Feb. 26, will start “no earlier than” March 5 due to the labor turbulence emanating from commissioner Rob Manfred’s lockout. All 30 teams will make full refunds available, the league announced.
While pitchers and catchers normally would be in camp by now, teams never announced reporting dates, as is tradition, due to the lockout, which went into effect on Dec. 2. That enabled MLB to kick the can a few more days.
Yet with little progress in collective bargaining — Thursday’s session at the MLB Players Association’s Manhattan headquarters lasted about 15 minutes — and the 26th lurking, the owners conceded the obvious.
They also vowed to intensify their collective bargaining, with Feb. 28 sitting as a common-sense deadline to finish the new deal in order to hold Opening Day on its original date of March 31.
Commissioner Rob Manfred said last week that the owners would like to run a camp lasting at least four weeks, and that about three days would be required to open spring training if and when a deal gets done.
Hence the notion that a new collective bargaining agreement would need to be finished by the end of this month to run the 162-game schedule on time.