CultureThursday 03.03.22

MLB Is Officially Missing Games — And Has Only Itself To Blame

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MLB’s owners and athletes just aren’t playing ball. Two series for each team will be canceled, after the Major League Baseball Players Association rejected the league’s “best and final” offer.

The impasse came on the tail end of nine straight days of negotiations over a range of financial issues. The league’s players want to see bumps in their minimum salary levels, a big increase in the sums teams can spend on their rosters before the luxury tax kicks in, and reduced incentives for teams to lose on purpose just to lock in high draft picks.

MLB owners locked out the players in early December, and the work stoppage is now the second-longest in major league history.

LZ and Will lament the loss of field time, as well as the fact that game-related reforms are taking a backseat to monetary concerns.

“The only time it's come up at all — about, ‘hey, what's good for, actually, baseball and baseball fans?’ — it's been immediately put in the pocket of ‘yeah, but how could we get playoff money out of that?’” Will says. “And the fact that the players are the only ones worried about that I think speaks to the larger issue.”

As for LZ, his grievance is that MLB is antagonizing players while losing sight of its true adversary — it’s not the players, it’s Netflix, the NFL, television shows and every other content generator that continues to compete with it in the attention economy. “People aren't going to just sit around and do nothing for four hours on March 31st because there's no baseball,” LZ says. “They're just going to do something else.”

The Long Game