(670 The Score) Cubs outfielder Ian Happ booked a one-way flight to Florida earlier this week without knowing when he would return. As the team’s union representative, he wanted to join the labor negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement.
MLB and the MLB Players Association have been actively discussing a new collective bargaining agreement since Monday at the Cardinals’ spring training facility in Jupiter, Florida, with this coming Monday representing the deadline set by the league to avoid games at the start of the 2022 regular season from being cancelled.
Happ has joined a group of players that includes stars like the Mets' Max Scherzer and the Cardinals' Paul Goldschmidt with the shared goal of reaching a deal to begin spring training immediately. Happ hopes fans recognize the players' earnest efforts to strike an agreement, as he explained on the Bernstein & Rahimi Show on Friday.
“We’re there,” Happ said. “You have a group of players who in the end of what would hopefully be their offseason, when they would be traveling to Arizona or Florida or wherever and kind of spending those last few days with their family and loved ones and friends, they’re jumping on a plane and traveling to Florida in West Palm to be there in person to try to help move these things along.
“Players want this. The attentiveness from the entire group, all of the reps and veteran players who are so involved in what’s going, all the hours that guys have put in. I can’t count the number of hours that I’ve spent on Zoom calls and phone calls and text chains about what’s going on and trying to help push this thing in the right direction.
“The players are so heavily committed to getting this thing back on track and we hope that the fans understand what we’re fighting for.”
MLB instituted the lockout on Dec. 2, which marked a complete work stoppage for the league and its players. The two sides only began meeting regularly this week as the pressure to reach a deal increased.
Should an agreement not be reached by this coming Monday, Opening Day on March 31 would be missed and games won't be made up, the league said earlier in the week.