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There is "anxiety" within MLB for the first time in years "about the future of labor relations" between the league and the MLBPA, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSPORTS.com. MLB Commissioner Bud Selig's successor will be "charged with the weighty task of continuing" the league's two-decade streak of labor peace when the current CBA expires after the '16 season. Statements by senior MLB and MLBPA officials in the meantime will "be scrutinized for hints as to future negotiating positions -- and whether fans actually should fear a work stoppage." MLBPA Exec Dir Tony Clark said, "We’ve had a number of issues we’ve had to work through -- a number of challenging issues we’ve had to work through -- in a very short period of time. But having said that, the dialogue is open. It continues to be open. And I wouldn’t expect that to change." Morosi noted there is one "unique circumstance" as it relates to '17, as it is "the next year in which the World Baseball Classic is scheduled to take place." Selig and MLB officials "remain firmly committed to the event, because of its profitability and platform to promote the game globally." Morosi: "If CBA negotiations grow contentious in the winter of 2016-2017, will MLB and the MLBPA be in any position to stage an international competition that opens with February training camps?" (FOXSPORTS.com, 3/5).
TANKS FOR NOTHING: Clark said that he "did not feel losing has been incentivized" in MLB. He said, "I can’t say that it has (crossed my mind). But what I will say is, any provision that’s in the collective bargaining agreement, particularly those that are tied to player compensation, how teams function, we always pay attention to it. The idea that a club would try to manipulate their season and lose in order to secure certain considerations there, when, you know more than other -- or rather than, or different than -- other drafts, it usually takes a while for our players to make it to the big leagues as opposed to the NBA that goes right in, or the NFL that goes right in, so the idea that you would try to lose in order to get a draft pick that may or may not pan out, that’s an interesting dynamic. But we pay attention to all of it" (CHRON.com, 3/2).
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said the effort to grow the league "doesn't mean that we are trying to take away fans from the NFL." Silver, in an interview with USATODAY.com, said, "It’s that sports fans ... are fans of multiple sports, especially for those who play basketball, who follow college (basketball) for example, and maybe don’t follow the NBA. I want those fans back. ... It frustrates me when I run into those fans of the game who say, ‘I love Kentucky or I love Syracuse or I love Duke, but I don’t really follow the NBA game or I used to follow the NBA game,’ and I say, ‘Try us out. Whatever you think the game was, whatever turned you off about the game, it’s fantastic right now.’ We’ve got great players, rising stars, mature stars (and) fantastic competition every night." Meanwhile, Silver said of advanced technology in the NBA, "I’ve been a huge advocate of experimenting with new technologies, of looking out to the future, the SportVU cameras located in the rafters. ... It’s the age of big data, and to me, you look at the information and it tells a story and I’m excited about that." He also touched on the league's cultural progression, saying, "It’s an equal opportunity league and judgments should come from what players can do on the floor, not their race, ethnicity, sexuality or anything else. And again, so much credit goes to David Stern for building those values into the league over the last 30 years. And beyond that, I’m just so proud as a representative of this sport" (USATODAY.com, 3/6).