Cubs: Is an on-time Opening Day now in serious jeopardy?

(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

If you’re planning on heading to Arizona to watch the Chicago Cubs during spring training, you might want to pump the brakes. As expected, after the league requested federal mediation in the CBA discussions, the MLBPA declined – leaving the two sides wondering what comes next.

"“Two months after implementing their lockout, and just two days after committing to Players that a counterproposal would be made, the owners refused to make a counter, and instead requested mediation,” an MLBPA statement released Friday read. “After consultation with our Executive Board, and taking into account a variety of factors, we have declined this request. The clearest path to a fair and timely agreement is to get back to the table. Players stand ready to negotiate.”"

The request for a mediator felt like nothing more than a bloated PR stunt from the league’s owners. They knew the players would balk at the idea – especially after the MLBPA put forth a proposal and the league balked when it came to making a counter-proposal. Tensions remain high and we’re getting to the point now where we don’t just need to be concerned over spring training – but an on-time start to the regular season.

Our Cubs are set to kick off the 2022 campaign on March 31 in Cincinnati – before opening their home slate at Wrigley Field the following Monday afternoon, welcoming in the rival Cardinals. I’ve actually got tickets for that game – but suffice to say, I’m not feeling overly optimistic at this point.

The prospects of playing a full 162-game schedule feel dim right now. That’s not to say the league and players can’t hammer something out. Maybe the idea of lost revenue is enough to push the owners toward the middle and start talking turkey. Because, based on reports, there hasn’t been much movement on their end – and their refusing to make a counteroffer this week is just the latest example.

Chicago Cubs: Tempers, tensions aren’t simmering between the two sides

The players – for months – even prior to the lockout, have maligned owners’ lack of good faith negotiating. Back in mid-December, Cubs outfielder and MLBPA rep Ian Happ was on 670 The Score and put owners on blast – claiming they didn’t make a single economic proposal prior to levying the lockout that brought the offseason to a standstill.

"“One of the most disappointing parts is that the owners didn’t make one economic proposal the entire time we were there,” Happ said. “The morning of Tuesday (Nov. 30) maybe, we made an economic proposal that looped into a proposal from Monday that was a broader package and putting all these things together on one piece of paper … And we didn’t get anything back…”"

Triple-A schedule expanded to 150 games. dark. Next

After seeing the MLB season shortened to 60 games in 2020 – all played without fans in attendance – and fan limitations for the first few months of 2021, a return to ‘normalcy’ would have been welcomed by fans. Instead, it looks like we’re all poised to be the losers in this back-and-forth once again.