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MLB Owners Impose Lockout After CBA Expires

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Over a quarter of a century of labor peace has come to an end for Major League Baseball.

As of 12:01 a.m. Thursday, owners have imposed a lockout, CBS2's Otis Livingston reported.

It's not much of a surprise that the collective bargaining agreement has run out and the owners have locked out the players. It seemed destined to happen as there has been very little movement towards a new CBA, and now we'll see just how long the ninth work stoppage in the sport's history lasts

"It's not a good thing for the sport. It's not something that we undertake lightly. We understand it's bad for our business," MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said.

Yet, here we are, MLB's first work stoppage in 26 years. The good news is there have been three lockouts in the past and none of them led to any loss of games. And with spring training not until February, time, for the moment, is on baseball's side.

"I think we're in a process. I'm prepared to continue that process. And I'm optimistic that we're gonna get a deal," Manfred said.

But most of us will never forget the strike-shortened season of 1994, which resulted in the World Series not being played. It took years for baseball to recover.

"We made the mistake of playing without a collective bargaining agreement in 1994 and it cost our fans and our clubs dearly. We will not make that same mistake again," Manfred said.

The issues between the league and MLB Players Association are not strictly about money. The players feel there are competitive balance issues and teams have too much incentive to tank a season to gain a higher draft pick. The players also want to be able to reach free agency earlier in their careers, and also salary arbitration to come following a player's second season rather than his third.

"It's unnecessary to continue the dialogue," union head Tony Clark said of the lockout. "At the first instance in some time of a bumpy water, the recourse was a strategic decision to lock players out."

So, for now, there will be no more trades, no more free agent signings, and no more hot stove talk that makes the offseason so interesting. We just have to wait and hope the billionaire owners and millionaire players will get back to the bargaining table and figure this out.

Just a reminder, the last owners' lockout came in February 1990, lasted 32 days, and virtually knocked out spring training and pushed back the start of the season a week. Now that the CBA ends in December, there is more time to get a deal hammered out without disrupting anything.

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