The Atlanta Braves are reigning World Series champions and now baseball is in the middle of its first work stoppage since the 1994-95 strike. MLB and the MLBPA were unable to agree to a new collective bargaining agreement prior to the Dec. 1 deadline, so the owners locked out the players, and regular season games are being canceled. Here's everything you need to know about the owners' lockout.
Throughout the offseason, the CBS Sports MLB experts will bring you a weekly Batting Around roundtable breaking down pretty much anything. The latest news, a historical question, thoughts about the future of baseball, all sorts of stuff. Last week we discussed Kris Bryant's future. This week we're going to try to predict the end of the work stoppage.
Give me your best guess for Opening Day.
Matt Snyder: I'm buying the talk from the players that a portion of the owners don't want to play in April. Between cold weather in many places, school long from being out everywhere and a good chunk of teams deciding not to try to compete, ticket sales in the month are generally not good at all. Of course, nearly every place fills up for Opening Day or home openers and they'll still get those no matter when they start. It makes plenty of short-term economic sense for the owners to want to just lop off April and start fresh in May, leaving enough time before the playoffs for everyone to have let go of any anger over the delay to the start of the year.
May 1 is a Sunday and we've seen the league many times play a few games on a Sunday before the official "Opening Day" on Monday. As such, I'm going with 1-3 games on Sunday, May 1 for a "soft" Opening Day with the full Opening Day coming on Monday, May 2.
R.J. Anderson: I would agree with Snyder that May 1 (or thereabout) is a reasonable guess. It wouldn't surprise me if the players have to make the owners feel a little pain by pushing closer to that magical number of missed games that would impact their television deals. We'll see, though, it's possible we end up with a deal that would allow Opening Day to still take place sometime in mid-to-late April.
Mike Axisa: As our token lockout pessimist, I'm going to say July 1. I don't think the owners are after a fair deal, I think they want to break the union, but I also think they're too greedy for their own good and will only absorb so much revenue loss. The players are incredibly united -- they seem to grow more galvanized every time Rob Manfred opens his mouth too -- and I don't think they'll rush into a bad deal because of a few lost paychecks. So, July 1 is my guess, with a 100-game season to follow.