The last day of February didn’t look great for the future of baseball. Going into the day, MLB and the MLBPA had been meeting for 7 straight days with no end in sight. The Players’ Association had come down on their demands and, yet, the owners hardly moved.
Twitter become a hoard of zombies mindlessly refreshing for any breaking news.
Bob Nightengale slowly became the hero baseball fans needed as the night dragged onward.
Nightengale is a columnist for USA Today and has been, let’s face it, ridiculed in the past for being completely wrong. Bob becoming the voice for the end of the lockout news was a major plot twist.
At around 2:30 AM, the groups disbanded with the good news being that MLB extended their hard deadline to 5PM Tuesday.
The players and owners came together for the first time since 2 AM almost 12 hours later.
As the afternoon continued on, things started to slip from optimism to an all-too-familiar sinking feeling. The more tweets from reporters that were produced the more the 2 sides still felt further and further apart.
The optimism felt Monday night may have been a red harring from what Giants pitcher Alex Wood tweeted.
The same cat and mouse game that has cost us the early part of Spring Training seems to be continuing. MLB and the owners look like the cat hunting down the players union mouse. Let’s just hope it’s Tom and Jerry and the roles become reversed.
The biggest issue remains the Competitive Balance Tax. Both sides remain about $20 million apart. The pre-arbitration bonus pool also has become a point of contention. This became revealed around 3:45 in MLB’s “best” offer.
With an hour left to go, things looked more and more likely towards missing regular-season games because of labor for the first time since 1995.
With 40 minutes to go, the final nail was hammered in. The players rejected the offer and remained frustrated by the owners.
Hopefully, baseball will return before April 15th is lost: the Diamond (75th) anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier. That’s an occasion worth celebrating on a Major League Baseball field.
Photo by James Black/Icon Sportswire