SBD/January 17, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Manfred Not Worried About MLB's Relationship With Union After "60 Minutes" Report

Manfred believes MLB and MLBPA will maintain a positive long-term relationship
MLB COO Rob Manfred said the league’s relationship with the MLBPA is not overly threatened despite recent tensions surrounding the Alex Rodriguez situation. The union earlier this week blasted the league’s participation in the “60 Minutes” report on Rodriguez and said it would be exploring legal options surrounding potential violations by MLB of the Joint Drug Agreement. But Manfred said that does not suggest the return of a more tumultuous relationship that existed before ’02. “Our relationship is a long-term thing. Like in any relationship, you have good days and bad days. But I believe our long-term relationship will stay positive,” he said. MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, as expected, declined to comment on the Rodriguez situation given the active litigation. But he again lauded the sport’s progress in drug testing. “The only thing I will say is that we have a drug-testing program and its enforcement is critical,” he said. "I’m proud of what we’ve done. I gave my word personally to a lot of people, we gave our word, particularly to our fans. To be very blunt about it, that plan was going to be as tough as it could be and it would be enforced.”

TALKS ON COLLISIONS CONTINUE: While MLB did approve changes to the instant replay format, a desired ban on home plate collisions remains incomplete. MLB Exec VP/Baseball Operations Joe Torre said MLB is still drafting potential rule language regarding a collision ban, and negotiations with the MLBPA on the topic continue. “We are writing a rule. It’s not finished being written because it’s not easy,” Torre said. “But in essence we’re going to just make sure that the baserunner can’t just purposely bowl somebody over.” Manfred said a deal with the union is anticipated in time for Opening Day. “We fully expect we’re going to make an agreement,” he said. “We are still in the process.”

THE FINAL COUNTDOWN: Selig on Thursday noted he is looking ahead to his last year in office. “I have a lot of things to get done before Jan. 24 of next year,” he said. “It’s full speed ahead. Everybody’s excited about the season. That’s always my No. 1 concern, but I do have a lot of things hopefully I can get done.”
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