‘Manfred gotta go’: Players throwing high heat at MLB’s decision to cancel games

Giants pitcher Alex Wood works against the Dodgers.
Giants pitcher Alex Wood, shown in a playoff game against the Dodgers on Oct. 11, 2021, said what players are seeking from MLB is “more than fair.”
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

By the early hours of Tuesday morning, hope seemed to be pulsing throughout baseball.

Major League Baseball owners and the players union had been negotiating deep into the night in Florida, trying to reach a new collective bargaining agreement before the league’s self-imposed deadline and save opening day.

Reports indicated compromises on key issues were within reach. For the first time since the lockout began in December, there was optimism a deal might be reached in time to save the start of the season.

By Tuesday afternoon, however, all that belief had vanished.


Instead, the owners and players exchanged last-ditch offers unsuccessfully, Commissioner Rob Manfred announced the first week of the season would be canceled, and almost everyone in the sport was left fuming, flummoxed and fed up with a process that is threatening the both the short- and long-term health of the sport.

A team-by-team look at the billionaire MLB team owners who are behind the lockout that could delay the start of the 2022 season.

Feb. 28, 2022

As talks broke down, players took to social media with complaints and concerns about the owners’ tactics. Most revolved around the same frustrations.

Players felt the owners waited too long to begin seriously negotiating — the sides met only six times over more than two months before nine straight days of talks this past week.

They felt the owners pulled a public relations stunt at the last minute, leaking rumors that a deal was closer than it actually was in order to shift blame onto the union.

And they felt by canceling games amid a lockout that isn’t required in the absence of a CBA, the owners were putting their own financial interests ahead of the long-term health of the game.

“The last 24 [hours], I’d say there was cautious optimism on the players side because the owners were actually at the table negotiating with us toward a deal,” San Francisco Giants pitcher Alex Wood wrote on Twitter, as it became clear the sides weren’t going to agree. “What we’re asking is more than fair. If there’s no deal the optimism from MLB was a PR illusion to make it look like they tried.”


Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Ross Stripling told Sportsnet in Canada: “They were trying to sneak things through us; it was like they think we’re dumb baseball players and we get sleepy after midnight or something.”

Others were more emotional.

“It’s mind blowing these dudes legitimately caused these issues & continue to lie about it,” Houston Astros pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. tweeted before deactivating his account. “Walk out on us in Dallas [during an earlier negotiation session]. Lock us out. Don’t speak to us for 6 weeks. Take weeks at a time to respond to our proposals. Clearly don’t care about fans, baseball or the game. It’s exhausting.”

And more still were blunt, especially in response to Manfred laughing in front of reporters during his news conference in which he announced the cancellation of games.

“Have no clue how [Manfred] has the ability to laugh about anything right now,” Angels pitcher Michael Lorenzen tweeted. “Mind is blown.”

Said Dodgers pitcher Justin Bruihl: “I swear this dude hates the game of baseball.”

Chicago Cubs pitcher Marcus Stroman took his call to action a step further in a three-word tweet: “Manfred gotta go.”

Each message suggested these negotiations are growing more tense, and that much distance remains between the sides in their efforts to reach a new deal.