JUPITER, Fla. — Major League Baseball has canceled opening day, with Commissioner Rob Manfred announcing Tuesday the sport will lose regular-season games over a labor dispute for the first time in 27 years after acrimonious lockout talks collapsed in the hours before management’s deadline.
Manfred said he is canceling the first two series of the season that was set to begin March 31, dropping the schedule from 162 games to likely 156 games at most. Manfred said the league and union have not made plans for future negotiations.
After the sides made progress during 13 negotiating sessions over 16 1/2 hours Monday, the league sent the players’ association a “best and final offer” Tuesday on the ninth straight day of negotiations.
Players rejected that offer, setting the stage for MLB to follow through on its threat to cancel opening day.
At 5:10 p.m., Manfred issued a statement that many fans had been dreading: Nothing to look forward to on opening day, normally a spring standard of renewal for fans throughout the nation and some in Canada, too.
The ninth work stoppage in baseball history will be the fourth that causes regular season games to be canceled, leaving Fenway Park and Dodger Stadium as quiet next month as Joker Marchant Stadium and Camelback Park have been during the third straight disrupted spring training.
Ronald Blum, The Associated Press. AP freelancer Mark Didtler contributed from Tampa, Fla.