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Padres fans line up for tickets at Petco Park on May 1,2021. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Baseball owners began a lockout early Thursday that the Padres called “an undesired outcome” while expressing confidence that “a path to an agreement” is possible.

The lockout, according to Reuters, stops players from participating in a number of activities, from signing as free agents to using team sites.

In a letter to fans posted on the Padres’ web site, baseball commissioner Rob Manfred wrote that “we were unable to extend our 26 year-long history of labor peace and come to an agreement” with the Major League Baseball Players Association before the prior contract expired at midnight Thursday.

Manfred described the maneuver as a “defensive lockout.”

“Simply put, we believe that an offseason lockout is the best mechanism to protect the 2022 season. We hope that the lockout will jumpstart the negotiations and get us to an agreement that will allow the season to start on time,” he explained.

The labor dispute Manfred cited, the players’ strike of 1994-95, wiped out the 1994 World Series.

In a statement released on social media, the players association called the lockout “a dramatic measure” and “the owners’ choice, plain and simple.”

“These tactics are not new. We have been here before,” the association added.

Players, including Padre pitcher Joe Musgrove, reacted on social media by adopting a blank silhouette as their avatars after baseball put up generic photos on the web to accompany player profiles.

The Padres, meanwhile, said they “have been prepared for this undesired outcome.”

“Rest assured that once a new agreement is reached, the Padres will be well positioned to finish constructing an exciting roster that is ready to compete for a championship in 2022,” the team said in a statement posted to social media.

Issues dividing the sides, according to ESPN, include access to free agency, how teams manage player service time, which affects free agency, and an expanded playoff system.

The season is set to open March 31, 2022 with the Padres at home to play the San Francisco Giants. Teams, according to a baseball FAQ, will continue to sell tickets as if the 2022 season will begin as planned.