Perhaps Major League Baseball and the MLB Players’ Association have not met since the lockout began back on December 2nd because they wanted a break to enjoy the holiday season before getting down to business. Perhaps that’s the only logical explanation neither side has gotten back to the bargaining table to put an end to the work stoppage so we can get back to Chicago White Sox baseball.
Both sides have not only had limited interaction since then but no other meetings have been scheduled going forward. Back on the day that the lockout took effect, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said during a press conference:
"“People need pressure situations to get an agreement. Candidly, we didn’t feel that send of pressure from the other side during the course of this week. The only tool available to you under the [National Labor Relations Act] is to apply economic leverage.” He added, “We wanted to move the process now because we want an agreement now for our fans.”"
Hence, the lockout was put in place. While Manfred saw this move as a way of putting pressure on the players to get a deal done, MLBPA president Tony Clark responded:
"“The lockout won’t pressure or intimidate players into a deal that they don’t believe is fair. Players are committed to the negotiation process. Players are more than willing to be available now and every day moving forward to continue that process.”"
Well, if the players are “committed” to negotiating and Manfred wants to get a deal done for the fans, they certainly have an odd way of showing it. Time may not be of the essence to get a deal done just yet but before you know it, February will be here, and what if there is no deal by the time spring training is to start?
The answer to that is there won’t be any baseball until the two sides agree to a new collective bargaining agreement. The problem is that no deal can be reached if the two sides don’t meet which seems to be the bigger issue at the moment.
We can only hope as Chicago White Sox fans that baseball is played in 2022.
There was a meeting between members of both sides last week but reports say it dealt with non-economic issues (i.e. drug testing) and not core issues (free agency). The meeting didn’t seem important enough to merit the attendance of chief negotiators Dan Halem and Bruce Meyer of MLB and the Players’ Association respectively.
It would be easy to say the two sides will meet after the first of the year. That will, in all likelihood, be the case. However, not meeting since the lockout and not setting any future dates to meet is not very encouraging.
The inability of the two sides to meet is only hurting the game. Once the season came to an end and free agency began, teams went on spending sprees to the tune of almost $1.5 billion. Unfortunately, the lockout put a halt to all team activities which could have promoted those signings.
Speaking of not being able to promote the game, as if the lockout wasn’t bad enough, the current COVID saga has put a stop to any plans for fan conventions in some areas. The Chicago White Sox has pulled the plug on their conventions due to the pandemic.
Baseball being on hiatus is not good for anyone involved. Even though football is king this time of year, baseball could always fall back on the hot stove talk to keep it relevant during the winter months. With the lockout keeping free agents from signing and trades being made, the game will fall into the “out of sight, out of mind” category for a while.
There are varying opinions as to whether the season will start on time but for now, there doesn’t seem to be much activity to try and put an end to the work stoppage. Hopefully, the new year will open lines of communication between the two sides quickly and a deal can be reached to get spring training started on time.