Baseball is Back!



The game that we know and love is finally back after a 99 day lockout.

Justin T., Writer

Ladies and gentlemen, the game we love and desire is back! After months and countless hours of negotiations, Rob Manfred and the owners finally agreed to a deal with the MLBPA on the evening of March 10th, 2022. Start getting your caps ready fans, Major League Baseball returns on April 7th. 

“Extremely proud to be a small part of the MLBPA !!! LET’S PLAY BASEBALL BABY!!!!!” tweeted Tucker Barnhart

As stated above, March 10th was a day of relief for all players, teams and fans. The MLB recently said that if a deal hadn’t been made by the 10th, it would be impossible to have a full 162-game season. Showing us the eagerness from both sides to play ball, the two sides were determined to finish the deal by the deadline. The owners and players worked non-stop in an effort to get a contract signed. And they got it, they finally got it. 

“I’ve never been surprised at the solidarity of the MLBPA. It may be one of the best unions in America. It has been historically, that’s for sure,” said Rob Manfred.

So what are the details of the deal? One of the biggest agreements between the two sides is an expanded playoff format. The new format will force a 3-game series in the wild card round, taking away the single elimination game between two teams. So, the two division winners with the best record will get a bye, and the division winner with the worst record will enter a wild card series. 

Another new wrinkle in the agreement was the luxury tax. The lowest possible threshold for the competitive-balance tax will rise to $230 million this upcoming season and reach up to $244 in 2026. For teams with key free agents, including the Astros and Braves, this gives them a better shot at returning. As part of the deal, the luxury tax threshold rose by $20 million, leaving teams with more wiggle room. However, there were some team owners who did not like this idea. 

“Four Major League Baseball owners, Bob Castellini of the Reds, Chris Ilitch of the Tigers, Ken Kendrick of the Diamondbacks and Arte Moreno of the Angels, objected to raising the competitive balance tax to the levels the league ultimately proposed most recently, three people briefed on an owner-wide call held this week told The Athletic. MLB moved forward with the proposal anyway, moving its offer on the first threshold to $220 million, up $10 million from where it was in 2021,” reported The Athletic

The next part of the deal, starting in 2023, allows MLB teams to play fewer games against division opponents. And, every team will play competitors from the opposite league more often. So we will see less Dodgers vs Giants and more Dodgers vs Yankees beginning next year. 

“One of the more interesting aspects of the CBA this week was the introduction of a new, balanced schedule. Beginning in 2023, teams will play five fewer games against division opponents, instead playing one series against every team in the other league. Teams will continue to play their “rival” Interleague team four times, twice at each ballpark,” reported Mark Feinsand

Another desire fans have been waiting a long time for is the NL adopting the universal designated hitter. Starting this year, the NL will no longer have pitchers stepping up to the plate. instead, the pitcher will be replaced with a normal hitter in the batting order. Was it the right thing to do? Yes, however all fans will miss seeing pitchers take a hack at the ball. 

Other moves include raising the minimum wage for players, bonuses for certain awards and new arbitration rules. For the past couple months, players had been fighting for better pay for younger players. They finally got their wish. 

“The good news for players is that once a structural innovation makes its way into a CBA, it tends to stay there. Thus, the working assumption is that the bonus pool will be a permanent presence in MLB,” wrote Dayn Perry

While most are happy with the deal and the return of America’s Pastime, Manfred still needs to go. It took multiple months and countless meetings to come to an agreement where some items continued to go unaddressed, and the contract delay left fans wondering when or if the season would be played out. Manfred needs to go; the game needs someone who truly loves baseball. 

“To be frank, he did nothing for us,” said Wainwright. “I know how that goes, so Commissioner Manfred, don’t take it personally. That’s just how it looks from the player’s point of view.”