After 99 frustrating days, Major League Baseball is back. The owner-imposed lockout came to an end on Thursday when the league’s owners and players finally came to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement, as first reported by ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
The deal, per Passan, still needs to be ratified by both the owners and players later Thursday evening, but that is expected to be a formality. In other words, once the new agreement is ratified, baseball will officially be back.
It has been a tenuous three-plus months since the owners first locked out the players when the previous collective bargaining agreement on December 2. Since that time, the league and players’ association have met a number of times to negotiate a new deal, though it took until Thursday for the MLB to accept MLB’s proposal on a CBA by a 26-12 vote, per The Score’s Travis Sawchik.
With an agreement now tentatively in place, the baseball wheels are about to start rolling. Despite what commissioner Rob Manfred has previously said, the 2022 season will begin on April 7 and consist of the usual 162 games. Games that were previously cancelled from March 31-April 6 will be made up on off days and via nine-inning doubleheaders.
For the Red Sox, this means that Opening Day will now take place against the Yankees in the Bronx on Thursday, April 7. Boston’s home opener at Fenway Park will come against the Twins eight days later in the first of four on both Jackie Robinson Day and Patriots’ Day weekend.
As far as spring training is concerned, players are expected to report to their respective facilities in Arizona and Florida by the end of the week with camps officially opening on Sunday. Spring training games, in turn, should start shortly thereafter.
Off the field, free agency is expected to re-open when the owners and players ratify the new CBA. This means that roster moves and signings could be made as soon as Thursday night as clubs look to finalize their rosters in the coming weeks.
All told, this has the makings to be a hectic spring, with arbitration hearings set to take place as well. Opening Day, as a reminder, is only four weeks away. With that, let there be baseball.
(Picture of Rob Manfred: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)