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TREATISE ON BASEBALL FROM POSSIBLE COMMISSIONER-TO-BE
Published May 19, 1995
In the current issue of THE SPORTING NEWS, Paul Kirk, former Chair of the Democratic National Committee and a possible candidate for the MLB Commissioner's job, outlines his vision for long-term stability and labor peace between owners and players. Kirk calls it "Baseball's Declaration of INTERdependence." ARTICLE I -- MUTUAL RESPONSIBILITIES: Kirk calls on both sides to take mutual responsibility for "earning and maintaining the public's confidence in the integrity, certainty, quality, value and values of baseball and for passing it on to future generations improved because of our stewardship." To do so, Kirk suggests a pledge that play never be disrupted because of a strike, lockout or boycott. ARTICLE II -- RECONCILIATION: An acknowledgement of joint responsibility for shortening the '94 and '95 seasons, and an apology to all those affected. ARTICLE III -- SHARED VISION OF THE BUSINESS: Baseball's economic future "lies neither in the absolute control owners held in the past nor the unbridled freedom players seek for the future. ... The best business practices of baseball include enlightened collective leadership, strategic and worldwide vision, budgetary discipline, pragmatic business planning, predictable revenues and expenses, prudent franchise location, strong player development, positive cash flows and returns on investment, rewarding broadcast compacts, open and accurate accounting, talented and accountable executives, modern and creative marketing, merchandising and licensing, good faith bargaining, credible public relations, imaginative kid, fan, community and global outreach." Kirk notes the negative impact of "competitive imbalance" between high- and low-revenue teams and calls for a system that "fairly remedies this problem." Kirk writes that a "product can be successfully marketed once the negative factors consumers associate with it are identified and eliminated." ARTICLE IV -- THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUST: A change from "animosity to alliance, from recrimination to reconciliation, from 'us vs. them' to 'Us' will take time. We acknowledge, as well, that there is little time." ARTICLE V -- FORWARD-LOOKING GOVERNANCE: Kirk calls for a "good-faith solicitation" of input from the players on business and governance issues that affect them. In addition, the credo - - "best interests of baseball" -- should remain as the "governing tenet for all future independent commissioners." ARTICLE VI -- DECLARATION OF INTERDEPENDENCE: The players and owners should publicly declare that they are in a common enterprise with "fans, sponsors, staff, media, host cities and public authorities, umpires, merchandisers, vendors, concessionaires, suppliers, minor leaguers, and all other constituencies." Kirk also calls for the final edition of the declaration, which would serve as a preamble to a new collective bargaining agreement, to be published in every program in every MLB ballpark (SPORTING NEWS, 5/22).