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MLB Owners Vote To Institute A Lockout After Failure To Agree To Terms With MLBPA

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - MLB Network insider Jon Heyman has reported that the collective bargaining agreement that began in 2016 is set to expire at 8:59 p.m. on Wednesday evening.

An agreement on a future CBA has not been made, and MLB owners unanimously voted on Wednesday evening to institute a lockout, effective at some point on Thursday afternoon.

By voting for a lockout, owners are officially forbidding their employees (in this case, MLB/MiLB players) from working, or playing. Lockouts are not a necessary part of this procedure, as the offseason could have continued even without a CBA in place. This is a tactic used in the past to "strong-arm" players into agreeing with their terms.

A meeting early Wednesday between the MLBPA and owners lasted for just seven minutes, and some people within the meeting indicated that the tone from neither was agreeable.

A formal announcement was made shortly after midnight Eastern time.

The 2021 Winter Meetings have been canceled for Major League general managers, but they are still slated to continue for minor league front offices, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN.

This is not particularly shocking news, as it has been expected since even the beginning of the 2021 season that a strike was looming, when the two sides began their initial discussions and exhibited disagreement early on. In November, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred indicated to Evan Drellich of The Athletic that this was likely inevitable.

In an on-air broadcast for ESPN on Wednesday evening, after the announcement was made official, Passan noted that some officials around the league have been predicting a lockout for as long as five years now.

After the announcement was made, Manfred released a letter to baseball fans, which can be read here.

In response to the move, the Major League Baseball Players Association posted a statement on Twitter stating:

"Major League Baseball has announced a lockout of Players, shutting down our industry.

This shutdown is a dramatic measure, regardless of the timing. It is not required by law or for any other reason. It was the owners' choice, plain and simple, specifically calculated to pressure Players into relinquishing rights and benefits, and abandoning good faith bargaining proposals that will benefit not just Players, but the game and industry as a whole.

These tactics are not new. We have been here before, and Players have risen to the occasion time and again - guided by a solidarity that has been forged over generations. We will do so again here.

We remain determined to return to the field under the terms of a negotiated collective bargaining agreement that is fair to all parties, and provides fans with the best version of the game we all love."

A collective bargaining agreement (CBA), is an agreement between Major League Baseball owners and MLB Player's Association, that details financial structure and lists rules of employment for the league.

These agreements traditionally cover every aspect of the game of baseball, including how different parts of the game should be conducted, like: contract structure, free agency, rules, revenue sharing and much, much more.

One of the biggest discrepancies, and most common in the past as well, between the two sides is the issue of revenue sharing, as most of the revenue now goes to owners. Players believe that their share of revenue has dwindled over recent years. This is especially troubling when one looks at the lives that minor league baseball players lead - often forced to sleep on team buses or in personal vehicles, while earning at least $1,500 a month. Not a lot when you remember that baseball is only in season from April to September.

Another issue that has been discussed is the universal designated hitter, seven inning double-headers and the extra-innings rule where a runner is present on second base to start each additional inning.

This is not the first instance of a lockout, or a "strike," that has occurred in MLB history. The first instance was in 1972, and since then there have been lockouts in 1973, 1976, 1980, 1981, 1985, 1990 and 1994-1995 - which cancelled over 900 games league-wide spanning 232 days.

The most recent CBA was agreed upon in 2016.

This is a developing story. Check back for details. 

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