July 26, 2021

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Baseball to restart, athletes heading back to training, players union says

A general view during a spring training game between the Atlanta Braves and the New York Mets at Champion stadium on March 23, 2019 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

Julio Aguilar | Getty Images

The Major League Baseball Players Association on Tuesday announced that athletes were returning to training in anticipation of a coronavirus-abbreviated 60-game season.

“All remaining issues have been resolved and Players are reporting to training camps,” the association said on Twitter Tuesday night.

Since the early 1960s, a regular MLB season has consisted of 162 games for each team.

The action is sure to cheer up millions of sports-starved Americans while also setting the stage for labor unrest in 1 ½ years.

Tuesday’s announcement appeared to rescue a fraction of the 2020 season, while also adding fuel to simmering labor strife between players and owners. The current collective bargaining agreement expires after the 2021 season.

Weeks after spring training was called off in March, owners and the union agreed that players would be paid a prorated portion of their 2020 salaries, based on the number of regular-season games eventually contested.

But since then the union has accused owners of stalling the restart, so they could allegedly pay a smaller portion of salaries while scoring full postseason TV revenue — which is not shared with labor.

Players have been demanding MLB to schedule an earlier start. The union pushed a popular social media campaign #WhenAndWhere, urging Commissioner Rob Manfred to tell them immediately when and where to report for preseason training.

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