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MLB announces official delay to spring training schedule

The MLB and MLBPA will continue to meet next, but spring training games won’t begin for at least another two weeks.

New York Yankees fans waiting for autographs from the players during spring training Photo by J. Conrad Williams Jr./Newsday RM via Getty Images

The moment that the MLB lockout extended past the normal dates of pitchers and catchers reporting to camps in Florida and Arizona, it all but assured that some spring training games would be lost. Today, MLB made it official: All games through March 4th are now cancelled. The exhibition season was supposed to begin on Saturday, February 26th; instead, the earliest they will start is Saturday, March 5th. Any fans who purchased tickets from teams to the lost games will be given refunds. That goes for all teams, and not just the Yankees.

For those who are looking for a silver lining in the news, take these fleeting points:

1) Even before crossing the fabled “pitchers and catchers” report date, there was always going to be a high probability of losing spring training games. Although they’re paid-ticket events, they’re just not regular season games. There have been multiple labor disputes in sports history that have sapped exhibition games without crossing into the games that matter.

2) MLB said that they have a meeting scheduled with the MLB Players Association for Monday and will “remain every day next week to negotiate and work hard towards starting the season on time.” There is no obviously no guarantee of an agreement, but in the end, it’s unlikely that either side wants to lose Opening Day action. They’re meeting and, well, that’s better than not meeting at all.

Now, the primary question that lingers is whether the MLB owners will meaningfully budge at all from their all-but-outright refusal thus far to give its players (the ones who fans pay to see, mind you) much of an inch at all in negotiations.