KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Spring training is officially postponed.
An announcement from Major League Baseball formalized what everyone already knew Friday afternoon.
“We regret that, with no collective agreement in place, we have had to postpone the start of spring training games until Saturday, March 5, at the earliest,” MLB said in a statement.
The league said fans who have already purchased tickets for spring training games that are not taking place can receive full refunds.
“We are committed to reaching a fair agreement for each party,” MLB said.
Members of the Owners Negotiating Committee will join a meeting with the Players Association. The league said the two sides plan to negotiate every day next week and work to start the season on time.
The Kansas City Royals also released a statement regarding the spring training delay.
“It’s the time of year to celebrate the sights and sounds of Royals baseball. As we hoped to open spring training on time, we know Major League Baseball and the Players Association are focused on the return of baseball to the field,” the Royals said. “We look forward to welcoming our fans back to the Surprise and Kansas City ballpark, and making new memories together throughout [the] 2022 season.
The announcement was made on the same day that tickets for a Royals game went on sale.
So far, opening day remains scheduled for March 31, and players only start collecting their salaries during the regular season. Given the need for 21-28 training days and additional time to report and follow COVID-19 protocols, MLB and the players’ association are expected to reach an agreement by late February or early March to an on-time start.
The parties remained far apart on thresholds and the luxury tax rate, with major differences over revenue sharing and how to deal with player claims of service time manipulation. MLB said it remains opposed to any increases in salary arbitration eligibility or reductions in revenue sharing.