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MLB postpones Opening Day after owners, players fail to come to a deal

Last month, commissioner Rob Manfred missing any games would be a "disastrous outcome."

Major League Baseball has postponed its March 31 Opening Day and canceled the first two regular-season series as team owners and players continue to struggle over a labor deal.

For weeks, the Major League Baseball Players Association, the players' union, and representatives of teams have been locked in negotiations over a collective bargaining agreement that will determine the terms and conditions of the players' employment.

"We worked hard to avoid an outcome that’s bad for our fans, bad for our players and bad for our clubs," MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in announcing the delay and cancelations. "I want to assure our fans that our failure to reach an agreement was not due to a lack of effort by either party."

With the new timeline for negotiations, Manfred said there is no possibility that training camps could meaningfully begin operating until March 8, after which teams need four weeks of Spring Training.

A statement from the players' union said that the players are "disgusted, but sadly not surprised."

"From the beginning of these negotiations, Players’ objectives have been consistent – to promote competition, provide fair compensation for young players, and to uphold the integrity of our market system," read the statement. "Against the backdrop of growing revenues and record profits, we are seeking nothing more than a fair agreement." 

Negotiations, which took place earlier this week in Florida, stretched from Monday into the early hours of Tuesday morning, before breaking and reconvening again, but no final arrangement was agreed upon.

The delays and cancelations stem from ongoing disagreements over how to split up an estimated annual revenue of $11 billion. Players' salaries, especially those of non-star platers, have declined in the past years. While owners say they have taken a financial beating due to the COVID-19-related decline of in-person attendance at games.