SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Major League Baseball's lockout is now in full force, as players and owners remain divided over a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. It also has San Diego Padres fans expressing frustration.
"It's terrible news. We're getting back to normalcy. People are enjoying the games. People are employed. East Village is a ghost town without them," said Gerald Torres, a Padres fan who owns the City Tacos restaurant steps from Petco Park.
Torres opened the restaurant on Padres Opening Day in 2021, when crowds were limited in size due to Coronavirus restrictions. He said he depends on the fans for business, and hopes that on March 31, 2022, the team will open the season as scheduled with a capacity crowd.
But that's not quite a sure thing, because on Wednesday, the Collective Bargaining Agreement between Major League Baseball and the Players Association expired, with the two sides at an impasse over an extension.
The owners locked out the players in a move they said would increase the urgency to get a deal done to avoid a delay to February Spring Training or the start of the 2022 season at the end of March. During the lockout, no player transactions are allowed.
"It's going to get nasty," said Kevin Acee, the Padres beat writer for the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Acee said there's a soft Feb. 1 deadline to strike a deal to avoid delays on the field. He said he expected an agreement would get done in time given all of the money at stake, but that fans booking trips to Arizona for spring training should get refundable tickets.
"Don't ride the wave through the holidays, just walk away check back in the middle of January," Acee said. "In the middle of January is when you start to worry that the season could get delayed. "
As of now, the Padres open their spring training schedule on Feb. 26.