White House urges MLB, players association to continue talks after league cancels games

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The White House is encouraging Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association to get back to the bargaining table after the league canceled the first week of games after the two sides failed to reach an agreement this week.

“The major league baseball negotiations are a matter for the players, the league and the owners. Baseball fans may have some opinions as well. We leave that to them,” principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Air Force One when asked for the president’s reaction to the cancellation of Opening Day.

“The best role for government is to encourage the parties to commit themselves fully to collective bargaining that reaches an agreement, and that’s how we feel here,” she continued. “We encourage Major League Baseball and Major League Baseball Players Association to stay at the bargaining table and reach an agreement as soon as they can so we can kick off the season and get back to enjoying baseball games.”

The league canceled games after owners and union representatives for the players failed to come to an agreement before a deadline imposed by the owners, who locked out the players late last year when the latest collective bargaining agreement expired.

Talks have been at an impasse over details such as minimum salaries for players, free agency rules, taxes on payroll and expanded playoffs, the latter of which would provide more TV revenue for the league and owners. 

Opening Day had been scheduled for March 31, but owners had imposed the deadline of earlier this week for a deal to be in place before wiping out the first week of the season. Players have said the deadline was a negotiating ploy meant to pressure the union into signing off on a less favorable deal.

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