Mlb lockout
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New FSM Feature: MLB Lockout Exposes A Broken Sport

Franchise Sports Media

 

Major League Baseball’s owners seem to always be looking for ways to gain more control over their players, and this current lockout is proving no different.

 

MLB Lockout
Photo Credit: Wilfredo Lee/AP

The last time Major League Baseball players were locked out over a labor dispute in 1990, which lasted 32 days, led to widespread frustration amongst fans. The current lockout has reached 77 days, with no sign of an agreement being met on either side. It is evident that mediation is needed for the league owners and the players association in order to help move negotiations along and prevent any further fallout from fans and players alike.

It seems that league owners have been able to disregard minor league players over the years, and are attempting to continue to do so in their latest offer to the MLB Players Association. Unfortunately for league owners, major league players are now bringing these grievances to the forefront and fighting for what they believe is right, even though these efforts continue to tack on the days to an already lengthy lockout.

Major League Baseball asked for the ability to eliminate hundreds of minor leagues playing jobs in its latest labor offer to the MLB Players Association,” sources familiar with the proposal told ESPN.

Low wages for minor league players is already a huge problem and reducing roster sizes will only continue to make matters worse. Eliminating minor league players could prove to be detrimental to the overall structure of teams, and would also disrupt how players are able to work their way up through baseball organizations. Minor League Baseball has always been a starting foundation for younger players trying to work up to playing in the MLB. It has also proved beneficial for players who have tried to reestablish and regain status as major league players.

 

 “Currently, the Domestic Reserve List — which governs the number of minor league players a team can roster at any time — is at 180.”

 

MLB Lockout
Photo Credit: Getty Images

The MLB Players Association has remained steadfast in not letting league owners get the upper hand in this labor agreement. The association continues to reject and counter the league owner’s offers, in an effort to regain control of how much players are paid, and also to continue supporting minor league players in their efforts to make it to the Major Leagues.

Issues concerning the treatment of minor league players have vaulted to the forefront in recent years, with a class-action lawsuit over low wages currently in federal district court, the below-minimum-wage salaries for minor leaguers a long-standing problem and teams in 2022 for the first time mandated by the league to provide housing for minor league players. MLB raised pay to minor leaguers in 2021, with the minimum salary for a Triple-A player at $16,800, Double-A at $14,400, Class A at $12,000, complex league at $9,600 and Dominican Summer League at $3,000.

Although the potential labor agreement currently being flirted back and forth is not projected to have any influence on the upcoming 2022 or 2023 seasons, the league owners have their sights set on the future.

MLB, according to a league source, has no plans to reduce the size of the list in 2023 but wants the flexibility to do so in future seasons.”

 

So, who looks worse in this situation, and more importantly, what are the implications for the current and future state of baseball?

 

MLB Lockout
Photo Credit: Ron Blum/AP

The answer is that Major League Baseball, as a whole, looks terrible in this situation. The current lockout is damaging to the game itself and the appreciation for “America’s favorite pastime”. MLB has faltered through the years in the ability to garner regular viewership and interest from younger audiences, and adding in labor issues does not help in improving its popularity.

Moreover, the larger impact of these disputes and the lockout falls on the players. Having a lockout at the start of the season interferes with training, which could lead to increased injuries, and could potentially leave star players off the field, where they’re needed, and in the dugout recovering.

The Players Association must continue to stand and fight for increased and improved pay amongst all player levels, and continue to fight for talent acquisition and development amongst the minor leagues. League owners must take in to account the current and future impacts their requests and decisions can have on the MLB as a whole.

 

In the meantime, fans are left to wonder if the MLB will be able to recognize the damage already caused, and put in the work to repair a sport that seems to be currently broken.

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-Nick Sylvester – Franchise Sports Media

Follow Nick on Twitter @NickSylvestr

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