SBD/March 6, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Could Expiring MLB CBA, Labor Tension Jeopardize '17 World Baseball Classic?

Clark said that he did not feel losing has been incentivized in MLB
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).
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