If you went to Major League Baseball’s website on Thursday and felt something was off, you’re not alone.
MLB’s website has become a desolate place that lacks any news or images of baseball’s biggest stars. That’s because of the MLB lockout — the ninth work stoppage in baseball history, which took effect at midnight Thursday.
“You may notice that the content on this site looks a little different than usual,” MLB.com wrote in a post on the site early Thursday. “Until a new agreement is reached, there will be limitations on the type of content we display.
“As a result, you will see a lot more content that focuses on the game’s rich history,” the message continues. “Once a new agreement is reached, the up-to-the minute news and analysis you have come to expect will continue as usual.”
So, instead of MLB.com being overrun with stories about big free agent signings or updates on the upcoming season, the site instead has stories about the lockout, a FAQ on the state of negotiations and longer reads about baseball road trips and the “worst team ever.”
The most notable absence, however, is the players’ images.
On MLB.com’s mobile site, you won’t find pictures of the game’s top players like Mookie Betts or Freddie Freeman. Instead, you’ll be greeted with blank silhouettes next to stats.
Some of the players have already embraced the silhouettes, making them their social media avatar on Twitter.
“It’s amazing to see players around the league change their avi in solidarity. MLB can take away our image but never our LIKENESS!” Trevor Williams, a pitcher for the New York Mets, tweeted Thursday. “I have no idea what likeness means.”
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred issued a letter to fans Thursday explaining the lockout.
“We believe that an offseason lockout is the best mechanism to protect the 2022 season,” he wrote. “We hope that the lockout will jumpstart the negotiations and get us to an agreement that will allow the season to start on time.”
The MLB Player Association also had a response Thursday calling the lockout a “dramatic measure” and placing blame on the owners.
This lockout is the first work stoppage in MLB since the 1994-95 strike.
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