(NEXSTAR) – Opening Day has been postponed yet again as Major League Baseball and the Players Association continue bargaining discussions.
Wednesday, MLB canceled two more series, erasing 93 games from the schedule. A total of 184 games have now been pulled from the 2022 season. Opening Day also won’t happen until at least April 14, according to a statement from Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred Jr.
“In a last-ditch effort to preserve a 162-game season, this week we have made good-faith proposals that address the specific concerns voiced by the MLBPA and would have allowed the players to return to the field immediately,” Manfred said. “Regrettably, after our second late-night bargaining session in a week, we remain without a deal.”
He continued, saying, “We have the utmost respect for our players and hope they will ultimately choose to accept the fair agreement they have been offered.”
This means teams likely won’t play a full 162-game season, but the league hasn’t yet officially confirmed this. “The owners’ decision to cancel additional games is completely unnecessary,” the player’s union said in a statement following Manfred’s announcement. “After making a set of comprehensive proposals to the league earlier this afternoon, and being told substantive responses were forthcoming, Players have yet to hear back. Players want to play, and we cannot wait to get back on the field for the best fans in the world. Our top priority remains the finalization of a fair contract for all Players, and we will continue negotiations toward that end.”
Management had given the player’s union a new option that would allow an agreement to be cut short after the 2024 season, the Associated Press reports. The MLB told the union Tuesday was the last possible day to reach an agreement to have a modified 162-game schedule, full salary, and service time needed to reach free agency for players.
MLB said it would not make a new counteroffer to players unless the union first chose one of three options: agreeing to the international draft in exchange for the elimination of direct amateur draft pick compensation for qualified free agents; keeping compensation in exchange for MLB dropping the international draft proposal; or dropping compensation while giving players until Nov. 15 to accept an international draft starting in 2024 and giving MLB the right to reopen the labor contract after the 2024 season if players fail to accept the draft.
This season is the first in 27 years that games have been canceled over a labor dispute. Disputes postponed opening day on three prior occasions: 1995, 1990, and 1972.
The strike of 1994-95 is the longest in MLB history, lasting over 230 days. Wednesday marks 98 days of the ongoing dispute.
The deadline Tuesday was the third set by MLB in the past two weeks.
Manfred originally set a Feb. 28 deadline for preserving opening day on March 31. After 16 1/2 hours of bargaining in Jupiter, Florida, that began Feb. 28 and ended at 2:30 a.m. the following morning produced progress, Manfred extended that deadline to 5 p.m. the following day.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.