Florida business owners brace for no spring training
Negotiators for Major League Baseball owners and players met in Jupiter for a second day as the two sides seek to hammer out a deal and end the lockout.
The talks on the 83rd day of the second-longest work stoppage in baseball history marked only the second time since the lockout began that bargaining on core economic issues has taken place on consecutive days.
The players, once again led by stars like New York Mets pitcher Max Scherzer, who has a home in the area, arrived at 1 p.m. to engage in another session of negotiations.
During Monday's talks at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium, owners made a pair of slight moves toward locked-out players but put off big-ticket bargaining issues until later.
MLB increased its offer of a bonus pool for pre-arbitration players by $5 million to $20 million that would go to 30 top players, a fraction of the $115 million for 150 players the union has asked for.
The work stoppage began on Dec. 2.
It was announced Friday that spring training would not start earlier than March 5 after the league and its player's association couldn't reach a deal on a new collective bargaining agreement.
Unfortunately, as baseball negotiations drag on, caught in the middle are fans and Florida business owners.
Many are wondering if this spring will result in more lost revenue since baseball fans won't flock to Florida if games are put on hold.
"I've said all along [that] Feb. 26 is the day I circled on the calendar. We'll see," said Rob Rains of STLSportsPage.com. "That would be Saturday, so if they get done by the first of March, that will be OK."
Rains, a writer who follows the St. Louis Cardinals, said he knows a lot of people who have either canceled trips or are waiting to see what happens before booking trips to Palm Beach County.
"I do know some people that had reservations like at Airbnb, and have a window to get out of it to get their money back, have canceled," Rains said. "They're still thinking about maybe coming or getting another place."
The fans that are in town are dejected by the lockout.
"Kind of dead, empty. There's not enough people around, not anything thing happening," said baseball fan Jesse Lynch of St. Louis, while looking at Roger Dean Stadium, spring home for the St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins.
The 2022 spring training was expected to be the first full-capacity spring training since the pandemic.
One local hotel insider said they are watching the negotiations closely, and many area restaurants have learned to pivot away from relying on spring training sales after two years of cancellations because of the pandemic.
"I think this was the year everyone was looking forward to getting back down here," Rains said.
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