When an article was first posted yesterday evening, the negotiations were still ongoing and MLB had indicated there would be further postponement of the season; overnight, that changed considerably for the better so here is the updated news.
Following protracted negotiations between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association (MLBPA) over the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) the start of the coming MLB season will be delayed and, as a result, so will the start of the 2022 Fantasy Baseball UK game. However, the good news is that agreement has finally been reached and there is now a confirmed date for Opening Day!
The CBA is basically a labour agreement between MLB and the players union, which is renegotiated every so often. The previous CBA expired on 1 December without agreed renewal terms in place, resulting in the first player lockout since 1990. This meant that all transactions were halted and players were forbidden from contact with team officials until a new agreement was reached. The ESPN website has a timeline of updates on the negotiations.
After the latest round of talks on 10 March, a new Agreement was reached and MLB confirmed Opening Day will take place on Thursday 7 April, which will therefore be the first game day of the FBUK fantasy leagues. The season was originally scheduled to start on 31 March and had already been put back a week when the start of the month arrived with negotiations still ongoing.
The FBUK draft dates for the Yahoo leagues were originally pencilled in for the evenings of 25-26 March but were tentatively pushed back a week in line with the delay (the FBUK draft normally takes place the weekend before Opening Day). The new draft dates will now be:
Evening of Friday 1 April – FBUK LTD draft (limited trade game)
Evening of Saturday 2 April – FBUK League draft (standard game)
For those taking part in the new Salary Cap league run through Fantrax, no draft is required.
The usual MLB pre-season activity was also delayed, including Spring Training, which is now tentatively scheduled to start on 18 March. With the lockout over, there is likely to be a flurry of transactions and player movement over the next few weeks as free agency and trading re-opens after being on hold since the start of December.
More details will be emailed out to registered FBUK managers after registration closes (it was extended by a week until 11 March) and once managers have been arranged in the respective leagues and divisions.
To date, 111 managers have registered across the three league formats, which is close to last year’s total of about 120. As ever, the website Forums are open for discussion.
Other notes related to fantasy baseball
This ESPN article outlines the key changes of the new CBA
A big one for 2022 is the National League’s adoption of the designated hitter (DH), which makes permanent a temporary alteration that was made during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. Going forward, pitchers will no longer have a spot in the batting order.
Double-headers and extra innings will revert to the pre-pandemic era. Doubleheaders will be nine innings (not seven), and there will not be an automatic runner at second base at the start of extra innings.
The games originally scheduled for 31 March – 6 April will be made up during or at the end of the regular season, possibly as part of nine-inning doubleheaders. When a delay was first announced, MLB indicated the lost games would not be made up but it appears there will now be a full 162-game season.