TREATISE ON BASEBALL FROM POSSIBLE COMMISSIONER-TO-BE
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
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).