MLB cancels opening day, sides fail to reach lockout deal

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JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — Major League Baseball has canceled opening day, with Commissioner Rob Manfred announcing Tuesday the sport will lose regular-season games over a labor dispute for the first time in 27 years after acrimonious lockout talks collapsed in the hours before management’s deadline.

Manfred said he is canceling the first two series of the season that was set to begin March 31, dropping the schedule from 162 games to likely 156 games at most.

Manfred said the league and union have not made plans for future negotiations.

After the sides made progress during 13 negotiating sessions over 16 1/2 hours Monday, the league send the players’ association a “best and final offer” Tuesday on the ninth straight day of negotiations.

The lockout, in its 90th day, will plunge a sport staggered by the coronavirus pandemic and afflicted by numerous on-field issues into a self-inflicted hiatus over the inability of players and owners to divide a $10 billion industry.

By losing regular-season games, scrutiny will fall even more intensely on Manfred, the commissioner since January 2015, and Tony Clark, the former All-Star first baseman who became union leader when Michael Weiner died in November 2013.

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