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Be prepped for a wild ride this month re: spring training

With no progress reported or implied during yesterday’s MLB lockout talks, we’re seeing a potential delay to the beginning of spring training and possibly the 2022 regular season, though it’s way too early for specifics.

Both sides are being very quiet on the MLB lockout talks, they did show a clear road map on priorities for both sides. For MLB owners, the goals are simple: keep costs down as much as possible and not make too many changes in a system seen as being in their favor. For players, the emphasis is raising payrolls–which have declined in recent years–while getting more money earlier to young players and creating more penalties for teams tanking. Some of the breakthroughs last week addressed player concerns, with both sides seen as making concessions early in the negotiations. And indeed there were reportedly a few more concessions made yesterday.

One interesting thing–at least interesting for the readers of this site–is that with all the uncertainty surrounding the 2022 season, talk is centered on a delay of spring training, not a cancelation. (Why no cancelation? Players still need to get into shape for the regular season, which is considered to be a three-week process.) With pitchers and catchers set to report around Feb. 15, the first workouts with full squads set for Feb. 21 and the first games on Feb. 26, we’re certainly looking at the very really real possibility that spring training will be delayed or altered. Meanwhile, minor leaguers are expected to report on Feb. 21, and since the minor leaguers are not locked out, their spring training will proceed as normal as will the start of their 2022 regular season. There’s still a lot up in the air, and our advice really hasn’t changed since December, when the lockout was imposed by MLB. Teams and ballpark operators are still prepping for spring training with the assumption that games will begin Feb. 25-26. Because there’s still some give on the calendar, you can still plan for spring training–but do so smartly. First, be sure to make as many parts of your plans are as refundable as possible. That means hotel and reservations that can be canceled at the last minute. That means not prepaying car and hotel reservations, even at a cheaper rate. And that means shopping for airfares with minimal impact fees for cancelations or changes. Second, try to plan a trip for the middle to end of March, in case spring training is delayed and February games are scrapped.

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