Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Done Deal

Given the context, it is all the more surprising that Major League Baseball was able to hammer out a new collective bargaining agreement without any turmoil. After all, no American sport has seen more labor turmoil through the decades than baseball. Yet quickly and quietly, Major League Baseball deprived us of the 2011 lockout trifecta.

Of course, the collective bargaining process may have lasted a little longer if either side brought up competitive balance / revenue sharing issues. For better or for worse, however, Pirates fans don't get a seat at the bargaining table. With the players making a decent living and teams - even perennially awful ones - profiting each year, the MLB followed an age-old adage and decided not to fix "ain't broken" things.

A few highlights from the new deal:

-Two additional wildcard teams, one from each league, who will play a 1-game playoff for the right to be in the ALDS or NLDS. With such impressive TV ratings from 1-game playoffs in previous years, the MLB has essentially decided to force a tie in every wildcard race each year. You know what I can't wait for? A tie for the 2nd wildcard. Which teams will be the first to have a 1-game playoff for the right to play in a 1-game playoff for the right to be in the actual postseason?

-A move from the NL to the AL by the Houston Astros, which will take place in 2013. The Rangers-Astros rivalry will be an exciting one, assuming Houston is able to snap out of a current trend and actually find 9 guys who know what a baseball is. The move will create a scheduling headache, but for now it looks like we're stuck with two 15-team leagues. The MLB is reluctant to expand, and the league shot down my proposal of traveling back in time and un-adding the Diamondbacks and Devil Rays.

-A partial ban on smokeless tobacco, which prevents players from use during team appearances and TV interviews but allows them to keep dipping on the field. The iron fist of Bud Selig strikes again.

-Blood testing for HGH, which is the Players' way of saying "We've found something better and less detectable than HGH."

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