Major League Baseball is officially in a lockout. ESPN reports the league locked out its player early Thursday morning, creating the first work stoppage in over a quarter-century.

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The lockout has been anticipated, especially in the days following the COVID-19 pandemic as teams and players struggled to agree on a return to work schedule. The collective bargaining agreement expired at 11:59 ET on Wednesday (Dec. 1).

“Despite the league’s best efforts to make a deal with the Players Association, we were unable to extend our 26 year-long history of labor peace and come to an agreement with the MLBPA before the current CBA expired,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred wrote in a statement. “Therefore, we have been forced to commence a lockout of Major League players, effective at 12:01am ET on December 2.”


Now in a lockout, team officials and players cannot communicate in any way and all front office moves in preparation for the forthcoming season have come to a halt.

“It was the owners’ choice, plain and simple, specifically calculated to pressure Players into relinquishing rights and benefits, and abandoning good faith bargaining proposals that will benefit not Just Players, but the game and industry as a whole,” the MLBPA said in its statement. “These tactics are not new. We have been here before, and Players have risen to the occasion time and again — guided by a solidarity that has been forged over generations. We will do so again here.

“We remain determined to return to the field under the terms of a negotiated collective bargaining agreement that is fair to all parties, and provides fans with the best version of the game we all love.”