Mar 4, 2022 - Sports

Columbus Clippers season unimpeded by MLB lockout

Columbus Clippers player Yu Chang drops his bat after a swing.
Columbus Clippers third baseman Yu Chang at bat during a 2019 game against Toledo. Clippers fans have plenty to smile about knowing the upcoming season will go on as schedule. Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

When the calendar flips to April, the major league ballparks in Cleveland and Cincinnati will be sitting empty.

  • The Columbus Clippers, meanwhile, will open their baseball season right on time on the road against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs on April 5.

Driving the news: The Triple-A Clippers are one step below the majors, but are mostly unaffected by the ongoing baseball lockout between MLB team owners and players.

Why it matters: Columbus' professional baseball team supports hundreds of jobs and attracts hundreds of thousands of spectators to Huntington Park each season.

Catch up quick: MLB owners and the player's association were unable to make a deal on a new collective bargaining agreement ahead of the 2022 season.

  • Without a deal in place, players represented by the union are legally restricted from taking the field, even for spring training exhibitions.

Yes, but: Only some players at the Clippers' level, the ones on the Cleveland Guardians 40-man roster, are represented by the union.

  • These players are the team's top prospects on the doorstep of making the big leagues.
  • The Clippers might have to call up some players from the lower minor league levels to fill out the roster, but otherwise will play as normal.

What they're saying: "Everything is full go," Clippers president and general manager Ken Schnacke tells Axios.

  • He declined to comment on the lockdown, but says it's possible that Ohioans will more closely follow the Clippers this spring with the Guardians and Reds on lockdown.

By the numbers: The team employs 60 full-time workers, Schnacke says, with an additional 150 part-time workers during the season.

What's next: Columbus hosts its home opener on April 12.

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