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SBD/November 21, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies
MLB, Players Shake On New CBA That Brings Sweeping Changes To The League
Published November 21, 2011
THE WINDS OF CHANGE: The AP's Ronald Blum noted there also are "modifications to baseball's revenue-sharing formula and to its benefit plan" (AP, 11/19). ESPN.com noted the agreement "also will lead to significant changes to the schedule, free agency, the draft, the signing of international players, revenue sharing and the so-called 'competitive balance tax.'" The changes are the "most numerous since the 1997 agreement that came nearly two years after a 7½-month strike that wiped out the 1994 World Series" (ESPN.com, 11/20). In N.Y., Michael Schmidt noted MLB will be the "first of the major North American professional sports to do any type of blood testing for drugs at a league's highest level" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/20). On Long Island, Ken Davidoff noted the agreement "marks a coup for commissioner Bud Selig, who took a great deal of grief earlier in his tenure for the sport's failure to control illegal performance-enhancing drug use." Selig and the union "quietly made this leap, whereas the National Football League has boasted of adding HGH testing but has been unable to actually do so" (NEWSDAY, 11/20).
CREDIT ALL AROUND: In Chicago, Phil Rogers writes the players "will deserve a ton of credit if they really are rolling up their sleeves and giving blood to get" HGH testing done (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/21). NEWSDAY's Davidoff noted in the new CBA, Selig "took steps to mitigate baseball's two most glaring, institutionalized inadequacies." By announcing the "addition of a second wild-card team, Selig helped bridge the huge payroll disparity that still exists." By switching the Astros from the NL Central to the AL West, "creating a balance of 15 teams in each league starting in 2013, the commissioner set in motion hope for schedule equity" (NEWSDAY, 11/20). In N.Y., Joel Sherman wrote the addition of two wild-card teams "is the proper decision because it gives greater advantages to division winners and, particularly, to the teams with the best records in each league." But Sherman writes the format "should be a best-of-three wild-card round rather than the single-game elimination almost certain to be installed" (N.Y. POST, 11/20). YAHOO SPORTS' Jeff Passan wrote, "So much of baseball’s current labor détente, in fact, came from the ’94 strike that the game is beginning to approach the point where the unthinkable becomes a legitimate question: Was losing the ’94 World Series worth everything that came after?" Passan: "Baseball, amazing enough, is the bastion of labor peace in sports. And hopefully the strike to end all strikes really, truly was" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 11/18). In Boston, Peter Abraham writes after the "shameful events [of] 1994, the owners and players have gotten it right." With the "added wild cards, new stadiums around the game and compelling division races, it's a healthy sport and we can all celebrate that" (BOSTON GLOBE, 11/21).