Compiled by Staff
A tale of two cities: St. Louis, Mo. celebrating Mardi Gras with a parade, Jupiter, Fla. and Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium having MLB and MLBPA raining on their parade.
Check our daily updates on the negotiations: CLICK HERE.
Today (Saturday Feb. 26, 2022) was supposed to be the first Cardinals spring training game on the road against the Houston Astros. The opening spring training game fills baseball fans with as much enthusiasm as Fat Tuesday Weekend in St. Louis. Many fans have arrived in Jupiter, keeping their travel plans– hoping there would be baseball and they would be partying to celebrate the start of the season. So far their hopes have been dashed.
The first spring training home game should be tomorrow (Sunday Feb. 27) vs. the Nationals. It is also cancelled it looks like the proverbial party is at a halt—at least until March 8—if the owners and players can come to an agreement.
Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday and St. Louisans have a long tradition of celebrating. Soulard is the place to be this weekend if you are in St. Louis, starting with the parade and continuing the party.
Celebrations of Mardi Gras end with Fat Tuesday as the last big hurrah before Lent –and as March rolls in spring training baseball should be coming with it. Today the only hoopla going on at the stadium is the group of the fans gathering outside in hopes of seeing players arriving and departing from the meetings and getting autographs.
The negotiations between MLB and MLBPA are anything but festive. They have moved from New York to Jupiter, Florida, making it easier for players to work out and attend the meetings. The owners have set Monday as the deadline to avoid canceling regular-season games and if there is no agreement there is no Fat Tuesday celebration for baseball.
After Friday’s negotiation which went from 1 p.m. in the afternoon to after 7 p.m. local time, the mood seemed the most optimistic it has been from sources on the Players side, but several minutes later MLB cancelled three more days of Spring Training.
Other than the fact that there is a lockout going on, it looks like a normal spring training day here with Cardinals fans starting to arrive at the Homewood Suites and other hotels. It’s beautiful Florida weather in Jupiter and the fields are ready to play baseball. All around the stadium workers are sprucing up the ballpark both inside and outside, as shown in the photo, left.. Workers can be seen with ladders fixing things, painting thngs and generally doing what needs to be done in order to host an event.
One ticket window is open and they are selling tickets for games starting March 8th. They are also handling refunds from the games that have been cancelled. Not many people are milling around the ticket window as there would be on the day of the first game. The Team Store is open and has baseball gear for sale—just one problem: no games to wear it to.
Mardi Gras features all the happy people in their purple and green clothes celebrating with beads and alcohol. and normally spring training would have all the fanfare of those in their red Cardinals clothes– many with red and white beads having a beer in the stands or congregating in the Abacoa bars and restaurants across the street. Now many are merely drowning their sorrows—until an agreement is reached.
The fans are there, but no Fat Tuesday celebration; only “fat cats” taking a long time trying to reach an agreement. Every day this past week the owners and players have been meeting at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. That in itself is ironic because the owners have initiated a “lockout” which says the players are not allowed in their facilities– yet there are players like the Cardinals own Paul Goldschmidt, Max Scherzer, and others coming every day to participate in the talks. While Goldschmidt is welcome to attend the negotiations he is not allowed to use the facilities for working out or even to speak to any of the Cardinals personnel.
It’s obvious to anyone who has been camped out at the stadium watching the interactions that tempers are starting to flare. On Wednesday there was a dustup between fans trying to get a player’s autographs and more security was called for Thursday. Then on Thursday a fan wearing a Cardinals jersey, hoping to see a player walked up to a group which happened to have some media members in it– and was told she couldn’t be there, even though she was on a Jupiter public sidewalk. This was not the first time someone involved with the negotiations has snapped at an innocent person this week as it seems the talks are dragging on.
Players who have been seen going in to the negotiation meetings included the Yankees’ Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon, the Mets’ Max Scherzer and Francisco Lindor, the Cardinals’ Paul Goldschmidt, shown in the photo right, the Cubs’ Ian Happ, the Brewers’ Brent Suter, free agent Andrew Miller, New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner, Houston pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. and Miami infielder Miguel Rojas.
The fans hang around all day as does much of the media, all hoping for a resolution.
After the meetings on Friday, McCullers (shown in photo, left) came over to the fence and signed autographs and posed for many photos. He appeared in a happy mood and seemed to appreciate the fans that had gathered outside. McCullers has come over and greeted the fans several times this week.
The negotiations were scheduled to resume on Saturday at noon. Check STLSportsPage.com for updates. Sign up for our free newsletter; follow @RobRains and @STLSportsPage on Twitter and STLSportsPage by Rob Rains on Facebook.
For our daily updates CLICK HERE.