In some ways, baseball fans are really spoiled for choice when it comes to watching the sport they love. As if the 162 regular-season games for each team wasn’t enough, there is also the postseason and minor leagues for baseball fans to get engrossed in. Despite the sport being such a big deal in the United States, there have been a few occasions when MLB has been canceled. These are the occasions MLB fans have missed out on watching their favorite sport due to games being canceled in the league.
1972 MLB strike
In 1972, MLB experienced its first player strike as the athletes had concerns about their pay and pensions. The players downed tools from April 1 to April 13, causing 86 games in total to be canceled. Eventually, baseball resumed when everyone was in agreement, and a $500,000 increase in the pension fund payments went to each player.
Because the players went on strike, the league refused to rearrange the games that did not get played during the strike period. It meant the number of games each franchise played differed, helping some teams and hindering others. For instance, the Detroit Tigers won the American League East by half a game after playing one more regular-season game than the Boston Red Sox.
1981 MLB strike
The 1981 MLS strike was the first time baseball fans missed out on watching their teams play since 1972. There had been several strikes in that time, but this was the first time an agreement couldn’t be reached between players and the MLB.
The main reason for the strike was discontent between the owners and players over compensation fees for free agency. Owners wanted compensation, while players argued it undermined the idea of being free agents. In total 713 games had been canceled, with the league resuming normal play at the All-Star game, albeit in a split-season format.
An extended lockout between MLB players and chiefs resulted in two seasons being dramatically affected. In 1994 teams had only played 113 games when the strike began on August 12, 1994. Due to the extended dispute between players and owners, the 1994 postseason was canceled, meaning the World Series was not played for the first time since 1904.
Major league baseball wouldn’t be played again for another 232 days, when it resumed on April 2, 1995. The dispute was over the salary cap that MLB owners were proposing for the players due to worsening financial conditions. Fans remained angry at both players and owners following the strike and attendances for games plummeted as a result of the strike.
With the current pandemic sweeping across the world, it’s unclear when the 2020-21 MLB season is going to get started. The opening games have already been pushed back, and MLB officials are going to have to figure out whether to cancel some games to shorten the season or not. With an uncertain future for most sports, it will be a tough choice for MLB officials to decide what to do for the 2020 season.