Major League Baseball is in a player lockout due to the expiration of its collective bargaining agreement (CBA). In Alabama, leaders of two minor league teams said the lockout should not affect their players.

The CBA is an agreement between players and clubs that establishes the ground rules and working relationships. The practice has been in place since 1968. The most current contract, initially signed in 2017, expired at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on Dec. 1. With negotiations breaking down, team owners voted to implement a player lockout. Without agreement upon new contracts, players do not know what to expect for the upcoming 2022 season.

The Birmingham Barons President and General Manager Jonathan Nelson, along with Montgomery Biscuits General Manager Michael Murphy, released the same statement saying they do not believe their programs will be interrupted.

“The 2022 Minor League season and players who are not on the 40-man roster, or signed to a Major League contract, will be unaffected,” read the statement. “Our Minor League Club operations will continue without interruption.”

An MLB work stoppage has not occurred since 1994 when the players went on strike. Although this may not affect local teams, it could impact the start of the MLB season. Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to spring training in February, but with snags in negotiations, that could be delayed.

Robert D. Manfred Jr., Commissioner of Baseball, released a statement addressing the lockout.

“…This past season, we were reminded of how the national pastime can bring us together and restore our hope ... [D]espite the difficult challenges of a global pandemic our ballparks were filled with fans ... the games were filled with excitement ... and millions of families felt the joy of watching baseball together. That is why I am so disappointed about the situation in which our game finds itself today. Despite the league’s best efforts to make a deal with the players association ... we were unable to extend our 26-year-long history of labor peace and come to an agreement with the MLBPA before the current CBA expired.”

Manfred continued his statement, which can be heard and read in its entirety on the league’s site,

MLB is the only professional sport that does not have a salary cap in place. This is because the MLB Players Association believes a cap would provide more money for owners rather than the players.

As for the question…will there be a 2022 season? The word from MLB is they’re working hard to deliver a full 2022 season to fans.

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