The 2022 MLB season will not start on time after owners and players failed to reach an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement.
A deadline of 17:00 eastern time on Tuesday had been set by management, yet no deal was stuck.
Commissioner Rob Manfred announced that the first two series of the season were cancelled as the players remain locked out in an ongoing and bitter labour dispute.
"I had hoped against hope I wouldn't have to have this press conference where I am going to cancel some regular-season games," Manfred said on Tuesday.
"We worked hard to avoid an outcome that's bad for our fans, bad for our players and bad for our clubs.”
The MLB Players' Association issued a statement less than an hour after Manfred spoke, saying that players and fans worldwide are "disgusted, but sadly not surprised."
"What Rob Manfred characterized as a 'defensive lockout' is, in fact, the culmination of a decades-long attempt by owners to break our Player fraternity," the statement said.
"As in the past, this effort will fail."
The sides did make some progress, however, negotiating for over 16 hours on Monday before management made its "best and final offer" on Tuesday, the ninth straight day of meetings.
The players' union rejected that offer, and the owners followed through on their threat to cancel games.
Only the first week of games have been officially cancelled, so MLB could salvage a 156-game season starting on April 8 if a deal is made in the coming days, but the two sides remain divided with no imminent resolution in sight.
The players have yet to accept any cancellation and could try to negotiate for the unlikely result of rescheduled games. Manfred explained that the league will not compensate players for any cancelled games.
Among the key monetary issues still being discussed are the scale of a Competitive Balance Tax, minimum salaries and bonus pool money for pre-arbitration players.
Player salaries have dropped four per cent since 2015, when Manfred became commissioner.
Manfred – along with players' union leader Tony Clark – are likely to receive the ire of fans as baseball will have a shortened season for the second time in three years. The 2020 campaign was shortened to 60 games due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Players stand to lose $20.5million in salary for every day of the season that is cancelled.