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How will MLB lockout impact the Reno Aces? The team's president explains

Reno Aces
The minor-league season will be minimally impacted by Major League's Baseball lockout. (David Calvert/Reno Aces)

Major League Baseball's lockout, which began Wednesday night, will have almost zero impact on the minor-league season, including that of the Reno Aces.

The lockout, which had been months in the works with the owners and MLB Players Association not close to a new collective bargaining agreement, will only have one ripple effect on the minor leagues, that being the player pool.

Players on a big-league team's 40-man roster aren't eligible to play in the minors during a lockout. For example, relief pitcher Ryan Weiss, who spent most of last season with the Aces and was placed on Arizona Diamondbacks' 40-man roster last month, wouldn't be eligible to play in Reno during the lockout. But other than losing a couple of players, the minor leagues will move forward with a regular 2022 season.

"The really good news for Reno Aces fans and fans of Minor League Baseball teams across the country is that there will be no effect on minor-league operations, so our season is going to go on planned as scheduled," Reno Aces president Eric Edelstein said on Thursday's NSN Daily. "The effect will be on the potential player pool, so 40-man roster players that are signed to major-league contracts would technically not be able to participate while lockouts are happening. But the rest of the minor-league system will be free, and we will play baseball.

"Opening day will be April 12th at Greater Nevada. Field. We'll have a team with coaches in place and there could be a few players that maybe would have been pushed down that might be up, but it won't affect the prospects. You know, players like Alek Thomas (one of baseball's top prospects) that are not on that 40-man pool, those prospects are still going to be moving through the system."

MLB's winter meetings, scheduled to start Monday in Orlando, have been canceled, but the minor-league portion of those meetings will move forward. That includes events such as job fairs, trade shows and promotional showcases.

"We've always held them in conjunction with Major League Baseball, but it's really a great opportunity to get together, reflect on what we've accomplished in the last year," Edelstein said of the winter meetings. "We have business tracks that we go on, best practices. We typically chat with our affiliates. It's an opportunity to meet with the Diamondbacks and and catch up with them in person. And ultimately then we have league meetings and other sort of strategic discussions and discuss where we are going. But it's just a great opportunity to get together and compare war stories and and know that we've got plans for how to make next year even better."

With the 2020 minor-league season canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, having another season impacted in such a short time frame would have been devastating for teams like the Reno Aces, who play at the Triple-A level. But with the lockout not truly impacting the minor leagues, Edelstein is enthusiastic for what the new year will bring.

"We're excited," Edelstein. "First of all, just to know there will be a season. A year ago at this time, we didn't have a schedule. We didn't know how COVID was going to impact our season. But I think we're a lot more confident that we will play baseball. We know that the (COVID) restrictions are going to be relaxed. I'm really looking forward to getting the players and the fans back interacting again. The MLB rules and restrictions for health protocols really prevented that last year. So I'm just looking forward to camps and clinics and autograph sessions and our community getting to interact more with those players again the way they normally have"

Edelstein said minor-league executives aren't involved in the big-league lockout talks but he has full confidence the players and teams will end compromising so the "game will be preserved and protected." Edelstein said he's confident there will be a resolution that will allow the 2022 major-league season to move forward without interruption, too.

"I hope to see long-term labor peace so that baseball fans can enjoy baseball without this type of news for a long time," Edelstein said. "That's the best I can hope for."

You can watch Eric Edelstein's full NSN Daily interview below.

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