The Mets also includes notable links to a letter from MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and related stories about the downfall of baseball’s first business in 26 years, which began when the sport’s owners began shutting down after their collective bargaining agreement expired at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday. This long-awaited development explains why stories and videos featuring active players have been deleted from each team’s official website overnight.
As MLB.com reporter Mark Vinsand Tweet early Thursday“In order to comply with federal labor law during the shutdown, MLB is making every effort not to use players’ names, photos or similar (NIL) for promotional, advertising, or other commercial purposes.”
Each team site includes a link to a note about content changes.
“Until a new agreement is reached, there will be restrictions on the type of content we display,” the message says. “As a result, you will see a lot of content that focuses on the game’s rich history. Once a new deal is reached, the updated news and analysis you’ve come to expect will continue as usual.”
Team roster pages now have generic gray silhouettes where they used to be headshots of players. Many players, including the Chicago White Sox pitcher Lucas GiolitoSan Diego Padres pitcher Joe MusgroveMeets Jar Trevor Williams and free agent Sean Doolittle She changed their Twitter avatars in response.
MLB.com’s homepage, which only launched shortly after another discontinued solution for the sport in 1995, includes a snooze-inducing set of links about CBA negotiations. The “Latest News” module includes a story about 48-year-old Ichiro practicing batting with a high school team in Japan and Roger Maris under Hall of Fame consideration – and he didn’t mention the free agent frenzy that preceded the shutdown.
Notably, the link to the MLB Store, which sells gear with existing players, is still active. According to the MLB, products that contain the name, image, or likenesses of existing players will still be available for sale in cases where the manufacturer of those products has obtained the NIL rights from an agreement independent of the CBA.
“Every action we take is on the advice of legal counsel in accordance with the National Employment Relations Act,” an MLB spokesperson said.
Fans who visit the Detroit Tigers’ official website won’t find the highlights of recently signed Shortstop Javier Báez, but rather a story about how the team got its name and a video of Al Kaline scoring his 3000th goal in 1974. The Atlanta Braves website features a video of the victory The 1957 World Series but there is no content about the championship that the team won last month. On the Los Angeles Angels promotional schedule, the Ohtani-Wan Kenobi bobblehead scheduled for delivery May 27 is, at least temporarily, just the Wan Kenobi bobblehead.
The effects of locking on MLB-promoted content aren’t just digital either. In Philadelphia, a banner celebrating Bryce Harper’s MVP award was removed by Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday. It’s not clear when the Harper banner – and player photos on team sites – will return.