MLB is officially in its first work stoppage since 1995, and the first tangible effect of that was an eerie scene on the league's home page.
As the clock struck midnight on MLB's collective bargaining agreement with the MLB Players Association, MLB Advanced Media appeared to scrub all articles and pictures of any active players from its home page and team sites. So rather than articles on the recent free agent frenzy, MLB.com was featuring stories such as "Baseball road trip locations in all 50 states" and "Oliva has another chance at Hall of Fame."
The lockout extended into the sites' roster pages, where the headshots of every active player were removed, leaving a collection of blank avatars (and the retired Buster Posey).
— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) December 2, 2021
None of this should have been surprising, as MLB.com, its team sites and everything else under the MLB Advanced Media branch is league-owned. Its editors ultimately answer to Rob Manfred. And yet, it was still wild to see such an immediate scrubbing of a website that many fans go to for information and products from their favorite teams.
Because nothing is off limits in a labor stand-off, MLB's players decided to respond the next day in a rather cheeky way:
— Sean Doolittle (@whatwouldDOOdo) December 2, 2021
It’s amazing to see players around the league change their avi in solidarity. MLB can take away our image but never our LIKENESS!
— Trevor Williams (@MeLlamoTrevor) December 2, 2021
In addition to those that tweeted about it, big names such as Gerrit Cole, Lucas Giolito, Noah Syndergaard, Justin Verlander and Andrew McCutchen have adopted the blank avatars.
There were also some who put their own personal spin on the trend: