MLB labor disagreement puts spring training in limbo
With winter's bitter chill impacting most of the country, this is the time of year where baseball fans start to have thoughts of warmer weather, spring training and the crack of the bat.
However, many are wondering if pitchers and catchers will be reporting to camp on time next month to sites in Florida and Arizona.
"I think the reporting dates are in peril, which are essentially one month from now," Craig Mish, a radio host on the Fantasy Sports Network, referring to the dates for pitchers, catchers and position players. "The spring training games, I can't quite say that yet."
Major League Baseball and the players' union continue to be at an impasse following a lockout that began on Dec. 2.
Labor talks between the two sides resumed Thursday for the first time in more than a month, but there was little evidence that any progress was achieved.
The two sides have been unable to resolve their differences, namely the players union being angered over a declining average salary and middle-class players being forced out by teams concentrating payroll on the wealthy.
Major League Baseball imposed the lockout early last month as soon as the five-year collective bargaining contract expired.
The discussions Thursday were the first on core economic issues following a 42-day gap, and MLB made proposals it hoped would at least start to generate momentum. Players did not commit to a specific date to respond.
This is the first lockout since 1994-1995, which abruptly ended the 1994 season in August of that year and caused a delayed start to the 1995 season.
Ballpark of the Palm Beaches Job Fair
Despite this year's spring training being uncertain, the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches held an in-person job fair Friday afternoon.
Representatives of the ballpark are looking to fill a variety of positions including:
- Guest services
- Retail associates
- Shuttle cart drivers
- Ticket takers
- Ticket sellers
"Nobody really knows what's going to happen, but I figured let me take a shot, and if happens, I'm hoping it does," said Joel Friedman, who was applying for an usher position.
Representatives at both the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches and Roger Dean Stadium said ticket sales are going well, and if games are canceled there will be refunds.
"We're still planning. We're going to start Feb. 26. We got the Marlins vs. the Mets to kick things off," said Ryer Gardenswartz, spokesman for Roget Dean Chevrolet Stadium in Jupiter. "If there is an issue, we'll cross that bridge and do full refunds."
At this point, Mish said fans should look for positive signs in the labor dispute such as more frequent back-and-forth negotiations.
"I think they should be cautiously optimistic that some spring training games will be played," Mish said.
Portions of this article courtesy of the Associated Press
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