The Major League Baseball Players Association has organized a “fully staffed” stadium and training facility in Arizona for players to work out during the course of the lockout, reports Robert Murray of FanSided (Twitter link). Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports (on Twitter) that the union has interest in arranging a similar facility in Florida.
That the MLBPA has set up alternative training options for players unable to access team facilities is the latest indication of what has become apparent — there’s little reason to believe a new collective bargaining agreement is imminent. The league’s imposed deadline for agreeing upon a new CBA without canceling regular season games is today, and MLB has informed the union of their willingness to scrap a month’s worth of regular season action.
So long as the lockout drags on, players on 40-man rosters will remain unable to have contact with team personnel or to access club facilities. Plenty of players work with independent trainers even during typical offseasons, and it seems likely many will continue to stay in shape on their own.
That said, the union’s arrangement of an operational stadium and facility (and apparent desire to create a second on the other coast of the country) provides players with another option. It’s the latest union effort to bolster solidarity and willingness to continue to wait out the work stoppage. Of greatest import as the threat of lost game checks looms larger by the day is a strike fund compiled by the MLBPA’s withholding of licensing revenue over the past few years in anticipation of a potential lockout.