Since December 2, 2021, MLB has been in a lockout. The MLB lockout impacts cities and fans, not just the sport of baseball. Here is why.
Arizona and Florida are the states where spring training is held for all the teams every year. The teams are separated into two leagues, which are the Grapefruit League and Cactus League. The Grapefruit League have their spring training in Florida. The host cities are Tampa, Dunedin, Lakeland, Port St. Lucie, Bradenton, Sarasota, Port Charlotte, West Villages, Clearwater, Fort Myers, Jupiter and West Palm Beach.
For the Cactus League, the host cities are Surprise, Peoria, Glendale, Phoenix, Goodyear, Tempe, Scottsdale and Mesa.
All these cities are going to be affected if spring training get canceled. As of right now, spring training is canceled until March 5, 2022. How will these cities be affected? They are going to lose money. For example, Glendale, AZ spends approximately $17 million a year on its facility. Glendale’s Camelback Ranch complex hosts the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Chicago White Sox. With spring training being canceled, the city is not receiving the revenue they usually do from those going to games.
It is not just an issue of revenue from people showing up at the stadium. What about those who come from out of state to watch? They have to stay at hotels. The hotel industry also loses money because if there are no games, those tourists won’t be staying. It is like the domino effect. One thing falls, causing everything else to go down with it.
Every year, baseball fans sit and wait to hear the news of when spring training is starting and what the schedule looks like. Why? The answer is simple. Spring training is the start of baseball. Although the games don’t count in the standing, they do count as far as how a team may look like for the season. Fans watch these games to see the newbies being added to their team.
Spring training is the start of a brand new season with different faces and the typical unpredictability that baseball games bring. This means that baseball is starting and fans are excited. What does it mean when spring training games get canceled? It means uncertainty for the MLB.
With canceled spring training games comes the wonder of if/when baseball will start. Fans want to see it start on time, especially since nothing was “normal” since the start of COVID. Games were either postponed or canceled and that was frustrating.
Will MLB Start on Time?
It is hard to say if baseball will start on time. As of now, only the first week of spring training was canceled. The MLB and MLBPA must come to an agreement or 2022 will be another year of cancelations.
It is understandable why players want more money for the fact that a lot of the money goes to the owners, etc. They feel that they are the ones doing the work, which they are, so they should get a higher share. This makes sense. However, here is the problem. While the MLB and MLBPA are trying to come to terms with what they want, they are not looking around at other aspects that should be considered. After all, the reason why the players are getting so much money in the first place is that there are so many fans paying to se them. Maybe the MLB and MLPA should involve their input on negotiations. If not for the fans, the players wouldn’t be getting anywhere close to the money they make now. That’s another story though.
Hopefully, the MLB and MLBPA figure things out so fans can watch the sport they love. Although one week of spring training does hurt the cities where these games are played, fans can live with that loss. Another downside to this, outside of cities losing money, is it may lead to more cancelations.
The best-case scenario would be that an agreement is made, spring training games start and the regular season start time is not sacrificed. One can always hope.
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