Major League Baseball and its players union were unable to come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement before a league-imposed 5 P.M. deadline on Tuesday, ESPN reports, a failure that triggered the postponement of Opening Day and the cancellation of the first two series of the season. This will be the first time that MLB has canceled games due to labor issues since 1994, when the season ended in August and the World Series was not played.
There had been hope that a deal would be reached after a marathon negotiating session on Monday, but ultimately the two sides remained far apart on a number of key issues, including player arbitration, tax thresholds, and minimum player salaries. In November, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred downplayed the dispute between the owners and players, saying that "an offseason lockout that moves the process forward is different than a labor dispute that costs games." On Tuesday, Manfred said, "I had hoped against hope I would not have to have this particular press conference in which I am going to have to cancel some regular season games." And then he did just that.