At long last, baseball is back!

After 99 days, the MLB lockout has officially ended!

MLB and the MLB Players’ Association struck a deal Thursday following several marathon days of bargaining this week, according to Interstate 70 Sports Media insider James Knox. At 99 days, the lockout is the second longest work stoppage in baseball history, behind only the 1994-95 player’s strike (232 days).

As of now, Opening Day is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, April 7, which is only four weeks away. For the 30 MLB teams, there’s a lot to get done and not a lot of time to do it.

Here are some of the biggest takeaways from the final agreement between MLB and the MLBPA:

  • Opening Day moves to April 7 and a full 162-game schedule will be played
  • Spring training camps open with a March 11 voluntary report date and March 13 mandatory date
  • Spring training games start March 17
  • Free agency to begin immediately once CBA is ratified
  • Playoffs expand to 12 teams, beginning this season
  • The National League adopts the designated hitter starting this season
  • CBT expected to begin at $230 million and grow to $244 million

Cardinals fans can especially rejoice, as now that the full 162-game season is expected, it’s sure to be the emotional farewell tour for Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright that everyone has been anticipating for a long time now.

And who knows: maybe Albert Pujols joins the “Redbird Farewell Tour”.

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