To the surprise of no one, the Major League Baseball Players Association totally rejected an MLB proposal to delay the 2021 season by a month, instead committing to a February start to spring training.
In a statement issued tonight, the players association outright rejected every aspect of the MLB proposal made over the weekend. Under the terms of the MLB plan, spring training would be delayed by a month, with spring training launching on March 22 and the regular season beginning April 28 and ending Oct. 10, a week later than the current schedule. The current schedule has pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training around Feb. 16-17 and exhibition games beginning Feb. 27, with the regular season beginning April 1. We’d see expanded playoffs with 14 teams participating, seven-inning doubleheaders, a universal DH and a World Series running into the beginning of November.
None of that held any appeal for the players. Here’s part of their statement:
Although Player 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.
The MLBPA Executive Board and Player leadership reviewed and discussed the owners’ proposal throughout the weekend and today. 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.
So we are back to the original plan of players reporting Feb. 16-17, with spring training and the regular season launching on the original dates. MLB does not have the power to unilaterally impose a new 2021 season schedule.
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