MLB’s Latest Impasse

    • The league's request for federal mediation to help end the lockout was rejected by the union.
    • Spring training is scheduled to start Feb. 16 and Opening Day on March 31.

Talks to end the MLB lockout have stalled, possibly delaying the start of the season — and the two sides can’t even agree on bringing in a third party.

On Thursday, MLB asked for the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to jumpstart negotiations to end the lockout, now in its 65th day. On Friday, the MLB Players Association, which had to agree, formally rejected the request.

Federal mediators have been used in sports labor disputes in the past — with a mixed bag of results.

  • Mediation wasn’t effective during the 1994 MLB strike, which forced the cancellation of the World Series and eventually lasted 232 days.
  • But mediators have been credited with helping end the 1981 MLB strike (which lasted 50 days), the 2011 NFL lockout (132), the 2011 NBA lockout (161), and the 2012-13 NHL lockout (113).

Several core economic issues — mainly minimum salaries for first-year players (currently $570,000) and service-time manipulation — are at the forefront of the dispute, and there’s been little progress over four negotiating sessions.

Spring training is all but certain to start after its original Feb. 16 date, which puts the March 31 Opening Day in even more jeopardy

The possibility of a truncated — or lost — season is becoming increasingly real.