Detroit Tigers: The day we will see Tigers baseball this season

(Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports)
(Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports) /

February 17th: the first date of Detroit Tigers workouts for Spring Training, or at least that it was meant to be. The lockout seems to be very far from over, and in fact, it only seems to be getting worse. Relations between owners and players do not seem repaired in the slightest.

However, the hope we still have to see Detroit Tigers baseball is set in the amount of time we still have. Opening Day is still tentatively set for March 31st, giving us more than a month to hope for a deal. More realistically, however, we will probably see a delay in the 2022 season, if we see a season at all.

Now, why have I become such a pessimist on the labor relations between players and owners? The past two months have shown little to no progress on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA); in fact, the MLB has shown an aggressively anti-worker stance over these past couple of weeks. At the moment, the MLB is attempting to hold power to cut minor league jobs and avoid paying minor league players during Spring Training.

They are so aggressive about not paying minor league players during Spring Training that they have hired expensive lawyers to argue that the “training they receive is their payment” (The Athletic). Aside from being absolutely absurd, that statement is an indication of just how far apart the MLB is from the players.

The day we see the Detroit Tigers on the field is later rather than sooner

At the current moment, the recent offers from the MLB have been “underwhelming” to the player’s association. The league has given some ground but continues to hold ground on not providing the funds and guarantees necessary to make a deal happen with the players.

Let’s discuss why.

Ultimately, this breaks down into two major issues at which the players and owners are at odds: labor rights and economic rights. On the labor front, the MLB and players seem to be nearing agreements on limiting player options, but that is far smaller than the proposals for which the MLB are fighting in the minor leagues.

Right now, the MLB is actively attempting to reserve the right to reduce the number on the Domestic Reserve List (minor league players allowed per organization) from 180 to as few as 150 over the next couple of years. Now, the MLB is creating an even greater rift with the players, as is well documented in a series of DM’s to Tigers MiLB writer Emily Waldon on Twitter.

Players that make so little money that they are eligible for Earned Income Tax Credit (meant for lifting people out of poverty) that feel completely uncared for, and the owners want to cut out even more jobs. The worst part: the owners are not going to struggle to pay the minor league players more.

That leads into the monetary front, wherein the MLBPA is primarily concerned with the difference between the proposed CBT growth rate and the projected MLB revenue growth rates. From theScore, we see that projected revenue is expected to grow by one billion dollars a year, while the CBT grows almost none at all. They are implementing a soft cap in order to increase their profits.

At this rate, the Detroit Tigers may not take the field at all

It seems so easy to call the owners greedy without any claim or basis. Still, their proposed CBAs have not only underwhelmed players, but their actions outside negotiations have painted the picture of uncaring CEOs without concern for their workers.

At the pace we are seeing, there may not be a season at all. I am definitely being a major pessimist, but right now, relations seem to be no better than when the lockout began. The lack of progress means we will not see Spring Training start on time (if at all), and it is entirely realistic to believe we do not have a season.

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So what really is the day we will see Tigers baseball this season? I say that day is best described by legendary broadcaster Ernie Harwell. When the winter has passed, when the rain is over and gone, and the voice of the turtle rings through the land. That’s when we will see baseball again. I miss it so much.