Major League Baseball (MLB) has announced that it will start spring training and the regular season on time after the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) rejected a revised schedule proposal.
It was reported that MLB were originally interested in delaying the regular season by a month and reducing the schedule to 154 games, to lessen the impact of the pandemic by using the extra time to vaccinate players and team personnel as well as allowing for more members of the public to be vaccinated to, increasing the chances of fans being allowed to attend games.
However, the proposal has been rejected by the MLBPA after its executive board and player leadership discussed the ideas put forward.
"The clear cut result of these deliberations is that players will not accept MLB's proposal, will instead continue preparations for an on-time start to the 2021 season, and will accept MLB's commitment to again direct its clubs to prepare for an on-time start." read a statement from the MLBPA.
"Although Players salaries would not be initially prorated to a 154-game regular season, MLB's proposal offers no salary or service time protections in the event of further delays, interruptions or cancellation of the season."
Last season, the MLBPA agreed to a 60-game schedule where players were paid just over a third of their salaries. The union is now expecting salaries to be paid in full, despite how many games will be played.
MLB said in a statement: "In light of the MLBPA’s rejection of our proposal, and their refusal to counter our revised offer this afternoon, we are moving forward and instructing our Clubs to report for an on-time start to Spring Training and the Championship Season, subject to reaching an agreement on health and safety protocols."
MLB's proposal was reportedly met with resistance across multiple reasonings, including players' efforts to increase offseason workouts in preparation for the April 1 start date, which would have to be restarted again in line with a later start. Additionally, some players believed that playoff expansion would not be of net benefit because it lowers the bar for entry and takes importance away from regular-season results.
Author: Jake Wilkin