JUPITER, Fla. — The prolonged Major League Baseball lockout imposed by owners has reached a tipping point Monday.
Spring training games have already been canceled, and if a deal isn't agreed upon by the league and players union by the end of the day, regular-season games will start to be canceled.
The two sides are once again scheduled to meet at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium in Jupiter — the same location where meetings have occurred since last week.
The players and the owners got an early start Monday, arriving before 10 a.m.
New York Mets starting pitcher Max Scherzer and free-agent reliever Andrew Miller are leading the players' bargaining team.
The 162-game regular season is scheduled to begin March 31.
The lockout is in its 89th day.
The two sides have been unable to settle the money issues at the heart of this lockout.
Fans, tourists and business owners in Jupiter are hungry for some good news.
Small groups of fans were venting their frustration at Roger Dean Stadium.
One baseball fan outside Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter where crucial deadline talks are happening to end the lockout and start spring training. pic.twitter.com/hpWD6Y0pu6— Matt Sczesny WPTV (@WPTVMatt) February 28, 2022
Jenna Perugini of Melbourne was among the baseball fans who drove to Jupiter Monday morning and carried a sign that read, "No Games, No Fans, No Money."
"We need everyone coming to the table willing to negotiate and really end the lockout, otherwise they're going to lose a lot of fans," Perugini said.
In the Abacoa area of Jupiter, where Roger Dean Stadium is located, baseball drives business for five weeks.
The labor dispute is now having the same impact that the pandemic did for the last two years.
"This area was always super busy and loved seeing everyone around, and it's definitely not the same," said Jared Zwilling, who owns Will to Escape located just a block from the ballpark.
If a deal can be worked out, even with the season being shortened, it appears there will be some sort of spring training that will take place in Florida and Arizona.
MLB has not fixed an exact time to the deadline, which leads to the possibility of bargaining sessions stretching into the wee hours if both sides see a deal within reach.
"I only got to experience a little bit of spring training my first year, and I saw what the potential is, and I want it back," Zwilling said.