Baseball Returns After Lockout


Photo Credit: MLB Instagram

Olivia Wotherspoon, OwlFeed Sports Editor

Baseball fans across the whole country sat in disappointment and sorrow as they waited to see if baseball would resume this year. Finally, after much sacrifice from both players and organizations, baseball is back.

On December 2, 2021, the agreement between the players and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) expired and the lockout began because a new agreement was not yet set into stone.

It’s fair to say that players were beyond upset, with Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty tweeting, “This is just another episode of Succession.” Players just wanted to play baseball and that was not happening. 

The lockout lasted multiple months because of disagreements about the new agreement, which consisted of compensation for younger players and draft details. The MLBPA wanted to minimize the salary gap between high and low income teams and make up for revenue lost during the pandemic. 

Players were not going to agree to terms that they were not happy with because they didn’t think it was fair to themselves, other players, or for the future of baseball.

Yankees first baseman Anthony Rizzo tweeted, “To the fans we will miss you most. To the younger generation of baseball players, this is for you.” Many players were standing up for the sport and didn’t want the Players Union to get away with anything that they shouldn’t have. So they didn’t stop until they found something they agreed on. 

The league was concerned that the current revenue-sharing system was negatively affecting the league and was giving unfair advantages to teams with more money. If the system were to stay the same, the wealthy teams would continue to become wealthier and the low income teams would continue in a downward spiral in relation to their money income. 

Another problem that arose from this revenue-sharing system is that it decreases the value of a player. A lot of teams were making money from their local area that was not going towards their payroll, the players were losing this money. The MLB is taking local revenue away from the team because of this “revenue-sharing” system. 

Players were upset at the Players Union for saying they had financial problems because they simply didn’t believe them. Giants third baseman Evan Longoria said, “Wow. wow. I’d just like one thing. If times were so tough for these clubs financially over the last 5 years…show us the financials.” 

Joe Sheehan said this best in his baseball newsletter: “Revenue sharing hurts the players by reducing the economic value of a player to a team. If signing Joe Shlabotnik makes you five wins better and you can make $50 million more by signing him, he’s worth $50 million to you. If you can only keep two-thirds of that $50 million, he’s worth a lot less to you.”

With the new agreement being written this is one of the main things they were trying to fix, yet the players and MLBPA could not agree on how to do so. The players wanted this money rather than it going to the organization but the owners of MLB didn’t want to make this change.  Players salary limits are also being raised so newer players are able to make more money their first year in the MLB.

If these changes were to be made, the teams would be given way more accountability about how they spend this money and the Players Association would be bringing in way less money. 

The new agreement came with lots of changes to the game, including change in financials, the draft and game rules. The 7 innings double headers and the “ghost rule” in extra innings will be gone after the new agreement is passed. This season the National League will finally adopt designated hitters and starting next year the window for MLB rule changes will be shortened to 45 days. 

In addition to those, the playoff bracket is going to expand from 10 to 12 teams, giving more teams an opportunity to make it to the championships. There is also going to be a ban of outfield shifts, making the game more authentic.

One of the biggest and most controversial changes is the draft rules that have been edited. From now on, the draft will be only 20 rounds and the MLB is going to adopt a six-team draft lottery meaning that players’ records will no longer affect their draft spot. The Union has also finally agreed to an international draft which is a huge step for the MLBPA. 

Along with all these changes, there are so many minor changes that are also being made that would be worthwhile to watch out for. The players and the Players Union hope that these new rules will help close the gap between well and poorly performing teams and create a more authentic game.

Baseball is back and better than ever. Don’t miss all the spring training games this summer and opening day on April 7!