It has been a rouch couple of years for Major League Baseball and its fans.

First a pandemic cut the schedule to only 60 of the originally scheduled 160 games. While the fans returned to the seats for 2021, some of the stands were still limited.

Then no sooner had the Atlanta Braves closed out the season by winning the World Series, the owners locked out the players over an expired contract.

Now, as the negotiations, sparse though they may be, continue to be strained; the beginning of the 2022 season and spring training has been canceled.

In a normal year, the pitchers and catchers report to camp in mid February. The baseball fields in Florida and Arizona remain dark.

Currently the cancellation runs through March 4; but unless the 79 day impasse and work stopage ends quickly, those dates will be extended. The latest meeting between MLB owners and the Major League Baseball Player Association lasted a mere 15 minutes.

MLB issued a statement saying, “we regret that, without a collective bargaining agreement in place, we must postpone the start of spring training games until no earlier than Saturday, March 5. All 30 clubs are unified in their strong desire to bring players back to the field and fans back to the stands.” MLB believes that February 28 is the last day to reach an agreement and still begin the 2022 season on time.

The MLB Players Association also issued a statement saying, “nothing requires the league to delay the start of spring training, much like nothing required the league’s decision to implement the lockout in the first place. Despite the decisions by the league, players remain committed to the negotiating process.”

MLB Commissioner noted that the owners instigated the lockout hoping to alleviate a strike later in the season.

Both sides claim to be committed to reaching a fair agreement but appear to be doing little if anything to achieve that goal.

All is not bad news for the fans; anyone who has purchased tickets to canceled games can get a refund.