MLB Lockout: Rob Manfred and Tony Clark meet face to face

JUPITER, Fla. – And continue 85th day of the baseball game, they met.

On Friday at Roger Dean Stadium – where officials from Major League Baseball and the players’ unions have gathered all week to try to negotiate a new labor deal with the start of the 2022 season coming very soon. fast – MLB Commissioners Rob Manfred and Tony Clark, union heads, gathered one by one for about 15 minutes.

This is the first time the two leaders of the sport have met since MLB locks players on December 2one day after the collective labor agreement of the previous 5 years expires.

It was also the first known face-to-face meeting between Clark and Manfred since an ill-fated meeting in June 2020. They then gathered in Phoenix in an attempt to hasten the controversial negotiations. controversy over the shortened pandemic season. However, the parties left that meeting with very different interpretations about what happened and grievances still exist about how that season was done.

Friday’s meeting looks different. Manfred, 63, surprised the union when he asked to speak to Clark, 49. (The union didn’t know Manfred, whose home was in the area, was around.) The heads of the organization, usually not in the bargaining room, left. top negotiators to spearhead those efforts.

Clark and Manfred had a “fun conversation” “focused on how to move the process forward,” a union spokesman told reporters on condition he was not named. Clark declined to comment.

Much of it was made up of the relationship between Clark, a former player who took over the union at the end of 2013, and Manfred, MLB commissioner since January 2015, who, including in his previous roles, helped negotiate four previous employment agreements without dispute. The expiration of the collective bargaining agreement is seen as tipping the balance in favor of the club’s owners, and the players are looking for a range of changes.

MLB has repeatedly clarified its point of the ongoing process. March 31 is the expected start date of the 2022 season, and with inadequate progress toward a new deal, the league has doubled down on its position with one threat this week.

The league told the union on Wednesday it is serious about the February 28 deadline to implement a new CBA And if that deadline is not met, the union said it will begin canceling games. , that they will not pay players for those missed games, and that those contests will not be rescheduled.

MLB believes that the minimum length of spring training is four weeks – two weeks shorter than usual – should be avoided trauma spike, which occurred when training was abbreviated ahead of the 60-game 2020 season. For that to work, the league believes spring training in Arizona and Florida will begin by March 3, and so a new deal is desired on Monday.

However, the union did not agree that February 28 should be a firm deadline. For example, in 1990, 32 days course Spring training is cut in half, but the full schedule of regular-season games is played, starting a week later than usual. And in current negotiations, the players have previously issued threats of their own, telling MLB they do not want to grant club owners an extended playoff – worth an estimated value. 100 million dollars annually – if the games and money are taken from them.

As of Monday, not only are negotiators from the MLB and the union meeting on a daily basis, but there are also at least three club owners on the union’s labor committee – Dick Monfort of the Colorado Rockies , Ron Fowler of the San Diego Padres and Hal Steinbrenner of the Yankees – and nearly a dozen players.

The progress of the negotiations has accelerated. But on Friday, both sides acknowledged optimism about the achievement on one of the many standout issues: amateur drafts, which are expected to feature a raffle for some of the top picks. for the first time in baseball history in an attempt to prevent teams from intentionally losing in order to secure better draft slots.

Although the matter has not been finalized, the parties met for nearly six hours on Friday – the longest negotiation session of the week – and exchanged proposals to deal with the draft order. They agreed to meet again on Saturday, perhaps a whole week earlier.

Saturday was originally supposed to be the first day of Spring training game. But because of ongoing negotiations and the lockdown – the second-longest downtime in MLB history – major league camps didn’t begin last week. MLB later announced that show matches would be postponed “until no earlier than” March 5. On Friday, an MLB spokesperson said the postponement had been extended to March 7. March.

This weekend could prove to be crucial in determining whether there will be extra practice in the spring and, more importantly, if any regular games of the season are lost. Perhaps Friday’s talks have started some momentum.

Earlier this month, Manfred said that losing regular season games would be “disastrous“For the industry. Many major issues remain unresolved, from the luxury tax system to the minimum wages of players to the revenue-sharing system between teams. MLB Lockout: Rob Manfred and Tony Clark meet face to face

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