MLB Lockout Day 27: How the Pandemic Impacts the CBA Talks, Who Has to Step Up Next, More

The new year approaches rapidly, which means we’ll finally get some negotiating activity from the owners and the players on baseball’s lockout. Of course, that doesn’t mean the negotiations will begin as soon as the calendar flips this weekend. I’m so beaten down that I’d be tickled pink if there were ANY meetings next week.

Meanwhile, Gordon Wittenmyer surveys the Omicron-ravaged sports landscape of the last few weeks, considers what baseball has been through (has elected to put its fans through) the last couple years, and comes up with all the more reason for the owners and players to make sure they come to terms quickly on a new CBA. It’s not a connection I’d made previously, but it’s a heckuva good point from Wittenmyer. Among his thoughts:

(T)he powers that be on both sides of the negotiating table would be well served to consider that in the context of the real-life economic and fatigue factor for the world — at least the part of the world that still cares at all about paying to watch a sport that has become less entertaining to watch in recent years.

Because there isn’t a Cal Ripken history watch or a steroid-fueled summer of home runs to pull their Astros (or Cubs, Mariners, et al) out of the fire if owners and players screw this one up and bicker into February over fairly basic, fixable economic issues — or worse, delay spring training and the season fighting over a WINO (win in name only) ….

But there’s more at stake now than ever for a sport whose very pace of play and competition for America’s attention — especially among young people — has reached enough of a crisis stage that the likes of Theo Epstein and Ken Griffey Jr. have been enlisted by MLB in an effort to solve the problem.

Add a deadly pandemic entering its third year of economic, health and stress impact on people of every community, and it’s not hard to imagine fans’ patience finally running dry enough to cause lasting harm if MLB allows next month’s resumption of negotiations to fester into a public spectacle (see: 2020 negotiations over pay and season length during the COVID-shortened season).

He’s right. About so much of that – and much more in his article – he’s right. Given the exasperation of the current moment, not to mention the continuing health risks, nobody wants to have to stretch to feel good about sports. They don’t want to have to talk themselves into being happy and excited about something that used to bring them so much joy. We don’t have the energy right now. We don’t have the attention.

Not that I expect this kind of plea to land with the parties who matter. There is too much hostility and mistrust – and, admittedly, too much importance to the players – to come together to focus, primarily, on the fans. Fine. But is anyone in the room even thinking about this stuff? Even just from an economic perspective, you’d think you would want the revenue hose to stay strong, right?

Meanwhile, Chris Rose hosted three actively-involved players on his show – Lucas Giolito, Marcus Semien, and Zack Britton – for an extensive talk on everything that’s going on right now (or not).

There is a united front going on for now from the players, who feel they made the last set of offers, and the owners wouldn’t engage in serious talks before initiating the lockout after the CBA expired on December 1. “We’re not going to negotiate against ourselves” seems to be something of an anthem, and it makes sense. From all we know, the players’ latest offers were not so egregious that they didn’t merit a response from the owners, who reportedly wouldn’t even TALK unless certain core issues were taken off the table.

It feels like the owners are the ones who’ll have to step forward with the next offer, and I don’t love the odds of them doing so until they get really, really close to Spring Training. Not only will the sides need to feel that urgent time pressure, but also, the owners probably wouldn’t hate if the rest of free agency got so condensed that players could be pushed into signing under-market deals because they have so little time.

It would be nice if some adults stepped up as stewards of the game, and made a real effort to get talks going in early January. We’ll see. Recent history gives us no real reason to be optimistic on that particular front.

written by

Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

more cubs news

MLBits: Rangers Calling Up Jack Leiter, Marlins Demote Max Meyer Despite Strong Start, More

The Rangers and Marlins are two clubs heading in opposite directions right now. And their transaction sheets tell you all that you need to know. Texas is calling up Jack Leiter, while Miami demoted Max Meyer, who has been their...

The Cubs Offense Has Completely Vanished (And at the Worst Possible Time)

Through their first 11 games of the season, the Chicago Cubs offense scored a total of 71 runs (or 6.45 runs per game). In their last five games, they've scored a combined 14 runs (or 2.8 runs per game). That's...

His Record-Tying Home Run Streak is Not the Only Recent Good News on Michael Busch

Michael Busch did not waste any time yesterday extending his home run streak to five games, homering in his first at bat last night, tying the Chicago Cubs' record in the process. https://twitter.com/Cubs/status/1780053231541887428 If Busch does it again tonight, he'll...

Interesting Night from Fill-In, Multi-Inning Closer Keegan Thompson

We are still less than a year removed from a time when Keegan Thompson was expected to be a critical part of the Chicago Cubs' bullpen. He had been so good transitioning into a multi-inning role in 2021 and 2022...

Cubs Farm Report | April 16, 2024: Studs and Duds of the Week

With no minor league action on Mondays, I figured we would use Tuesdays to highlight some of the best and worst performances on the Cubs farm over the last week. Triple-A Iowa Cubs Studs & Duds of the Week Luis...

Nico Hoerner’s Extremely High Hit and Two Even Higher Ones in Recent Memory

By now you've seen Nico Hoerner's jarringly-high game-winning hit from last night's game against the Diamondbacks, and I've kinda been chuckling about it all morning. I thought Sarah Langs offered some fun context for just how high that pitch was:...

NO WAY! Michael Busch Ties Cubs HR History with Yet ANOTHER Home Run

Coming into tonight's game, Michael Busch had homered in four straight contests. The streak was notable enough for all the obvious reasons, but it was especially interesting because all four long balls came with two strikes and all four came...

STUD: Nico Hoerner Won That Game for the Cubs With Sheer Will

In a game where a rookie pitching prospect makes the best start of his career, a key set-up man has a bounceback performance after a rough start to his season, and a formerly dominant reliever toiling away in Triple-A comes...

Luck Turning? 10% and 100-Win Pace, Neris Bounces Back, Madrigal for Morel, and Other Cubs Bullets

I won't say the Cubs luck has finally turned — not one day after they lost Seiya Suzuki to an oblique injury (while still playing without Justin Steele, Jameson Taillon, and Julian Merryweather) — buuuuuuuuut that's two wins in a...

The Cardinals Couldn’t Challenge a Play Because a Security Guard Got in the Way

Although challenges have become a staple of Major League Baseball, the league is still working on the optimal timing. The timing of doing the whole "hang on a minute, we're checking" thing, the timing of when you've got to signal...

Latest News

His Record-Tying Home Run Streak is Not the Only Recent Good News on Michael Busch

Michael Busch did not waste any time yesterday extending his home run streak to five games, homering in his first at bat last night, tying the Chicago Cubs' record in the process. https://twitter.com/Cubs/status/1780053231541887428 If Busch does it again tonight, he'll...

MLBits: Rangers Calling Up Jack Leiter, Marlins Demote Max Meyer Despite Strong Start, More

The Rangers and Marlins are two clubs heading in opposite directions right now. And their transaction sheets tell you all that you need to know. Texas is calling up Jack Leiter, while Miami demoted Max Meyer, who has been their...

Bulls Depth Takes Another Hit with Onuralp Bitim Ruled Out for Postseason

Another Chicago Bulls player has suffered a season-ending injury. The team announced on Tuesday that Onuralp Bitim has suffered a detached retina in his right eye and is now out for the remainder of the postseason. He now joins Zach...

Mariners vs. Reds Prediction: Expert Picks, Odds, Stats & Best Bets – Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Led by Jorge Polanco (two-game homer streak), the Seattle Mariners (7-10) are favorites versus the Cincinnati Reds (9-7) Tuesday at 9:40 PM ET. Sportsbooks have named the Mariners as -130 favorites for the game, which airs on ROOT Sports NW.Seattle's...

Cardinals vs. Athletics Prediction: Expert Picks, Odds, Stats & Best Bets – Tuesday, April 16, 2024

The St. Louis Cardinals will take the field against the Oakland Athletics (7-10) on Tuesday. The game begins at 9:40 PM ET on BSMW, with the Cardinals listed as -148 favorites on the moneyline.St. Louis' Lance Lynn and Oakland's JP...

Diamondbacks vs. Cubs Prediction: Expert Picks, Odds, Stats & Best Bets – Tuesday, April 16, 2024

The Chicago Cubs (10-6) look to Michael Busch (homers in five straight games), to pull off the upset over the Arizona Diamondbacks (8-9) at Chase Field Tuesday. The Diamondbacks are -124 moneyline favorites for the game, with first pitch set...

Dodgers vs. Nationals Prediction: Expert Picks, Odds, Stats & Best Bets – Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Two of the league's top hitters will meet Tuesday when the Los Angeles Dodgers (11-8) and Washington Nationals (7-9) take to the field at 10:10 PM ET, live on MLB Network. Will Smith is batting .369 for the Dodgers (-278...

The Washington Commanders Are Hosting a Pre-Draft QB Group Date

The MMQB's Albert Breer shares an anecdote about the Washington Commanders pre-draft process. Washington, which holds the second pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, is hosting a bunch of quarterbacks for top-30 visits this week. Together. In the same place....

Mariners vs. Reds Probable Starting Pitchers – April 16

The Seattle Mariners (7-10) play at home against the Cincinnati Reds (9-7) on Tuesday. The contest is set to start at 9:40 PM ET.The Mariners will call on Logan Gilbert versus the Reds and Hunter Greene (0-1).Mariners vs. Reds Pitcher...

Stars vs. Blues Prediction: Odds, Picks, Best Bets – Wednesday, April 17, 2024

The Dallas Stars welcome the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday, and are -225 favorites on the moneyline, with the road team a heavy underdog at +185.Stars vs. Blues Favorite, Moneyline, TotalFavorite: Stars (-225)Underdog: Blues (+185)Total: 6Best Stars vs. Blues Promo...

more cubs news