DETROIT, MI – With no collective bargaining agreement reached between Major League Baseball and MLB Players Association after Tuesday’s league-imposed deadline, Pete Gibbly, a lifelong Detroit Tigers fan with a lifetime ban from Comerica Park is stunned after MLB canceled the start of the 2022 season.
“I’m really disappointed.” Gibbly, 37, said from outside the main gates of Comerica Park. “The owners don’t seem to care, and the fans are the ones getting hurt.”
Gibbly is currently serving a lifetime ban from Comerica Park stemming from a 2012 incident where he charged the field and sprayed a bottle of Faygo in the Tigers dugout.
“At least you can’t say I don’t care,” Gibbly said. “When I show passion, Jimmy Leyland chases me off the field with a baseball bat.”
After a marathon negotiation session that went past midnight on Monday, Commissioner Rob Manfred announced the cancellation of regular-season games on Tuesday. The last season shortened by labor disputes was the baseball strike ending the 1994 season.
“That strike still hurts. Cecil Fielder broke up a fistfight I got into with an umpire in the old Tigers Stadium’s parking lot,” Gibbly said. “The fans deserve better.”
In December 2021, MLB owners unanimously voted to lockout players after the expiration of the 2016 Collective Bargaining Agreement, blocking labor talks for weeks.
Negotiations picked back up last week in Jupiter, Fla., where progress looked promising as both sides negotiated for 16 straight hours.
Players are hoping for better compensation as team revenue continues to increase.
“Don’t those owners have enough money? I can’t even step on foot onto stadium property without security putting me in a headlock and dragging me away.” Gibbly said.
For now, Gibbly and other fans expecting their favorite team to open the season on time will have to wait.
“The fans are feeling jerked around here,” Gibbly said. “I’ve already staked out my spot on the outside of the gates. If I watch out for the police, I should get a partial view of the field from the sidewalk.”
At press time, there is no timeline for MLB and MLBPA to resume negotiations.
End of the Bench will have more as this story develops.