ORLANDO, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 10: Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred walks to a press conference during an MLB owner's meeting at the Waldorf Astoria on February 10, 2022 in Orlando, Florida. Manfred addressed the ongoing lockout of players, which owners put in place after the league's collective bargaining agreement ended on December 1, 2021.

By Dylan MacKinnon

And here we are. We have canceled MLB games. We will not get to watch Bryce Harper taking at-bats come March 31st. If we are lucky, we will see a Spring Training game that day. The MLB will not begin its season on time.

But why? How did we get here? Is this a case of two greedy sides refusing to compromise and the rest of us suffering? I do not think so. You can knock the players for their specific asks if you want. Maybe they are asking for too much of an increase in CBT and minimum salary. I disagree, but the actual proposals from each side are not what I am here to talk about today. I am not a financial expert, I would not even know where to begin with the complexities of those issues.

Instead, I want to discuss the tactics one specific side took to try to force the other into a deal, leading to what happened yesterday. It was the owners and Ron Manfred who imposed the lockout. Then it was the Owners and Rob Manfred who set a made-up deadline for when a deal had to be reached before games were canceled. It was also the Owners who waited 43 days after said lockout to even engage with the MLBPA, and even longer than that to get serious about negotiations.

So why did they do all this? My guess is the owners wanted to put the player’s backs against the wall to pressure them into taking a bad deal. The Owners wanted to be able to make it look like the player’s fault games were canceled. They waited until the last possible minute because they thought that pressure would break the players union and make them capitulate to their wishes. The MLB owners and Rob Manfred played games with the sport they love because it doesn’t MLB bother them to lose a couple of games to open the year. Just look at Ron Manfred, who was smiling throughout his press conference because this was always their plan.

 

We have canceled MLB games, and this guy is smiling. I honestly cant say Manfred even loves the sport.

The owners and Manfred were never serious about negotiating. Their plan was to always wait until there would be serious pressure to get a deal done. They know that pressure weighs heavier on the Union than on owners. It is harder to keep 1000 players in lockstep, many reliant on game day checks than to keep 30 billionaires in lockstep. That is why almost every CBA negotiation in sports history favored league owners. The players almost always cave first.

The blame lays solely on the owners shoulders. They canceled games. They did it because they do not care. Don’t care if fans miss out on games, and certainly don’t care about what the players want.

Say what you want about the players’ wants and proposals. There is no indication they didn’t take this negotiation seriously. I cannot say the same for Manfred or his bosses.

Manfred failed this sport. The owners failed this sport. They might get away with it too. But what we can’t let happen is them avoid the blame. Rob Manfred should lose his job. There is little we can do about the owners outside not supporting the league, which won’t happen. But Manfred is a man who can and should be fired. He has disgraced this great sport one too many times. It is his fault we have canceled MLB games.

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