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Volume 26 No. 65
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MLB, MLBPA Prepare To Discuss Economics With Focus On Parity

Officials from MLB and the MLBPA are "expected to begin discussions on economic issues within the next two weeks," according to sources cited by Ken Rosenthal of THE ATHLETIC. These are "discussions the union wanted, so the burden is on the players to bring realistic proposals to the table," as anyone who questions whether MLB is "facing acute competitive problems need only check the standings." This season, the Royals and Orioles are "on pace to lose more than 110 games." The potential "exists for seven 100-loss teams in a sport that only once had as many as four" -- in '02. Negotiations on economics in the middle of a CBA are "virtually unprecedented in nearly a half-century of labor relations" in MLB. A series of "extensive changes conceivably could result in an extension of the CBA, which obviously would be a plus at a time when labor tension is as high as it has been" since the last players’ strike in '94-95. MLB’s "willingness to engage in such talks ... does not assure the owners would significantly alter a deal they agreed upon 2 1/2 years ago." But some owners also "recognize that the large number of non-competitive teams is damaging to the sport" (THEATHLETIC.com, 6/11).

DON'T HATE THE PLAYER: Former MLB Commissioner Fay Vincent in a special to the WALL STREET JOURNAL wrote granting players "access to team equity" should be the MLBPA's "next major campaign." Players at some point in the future "won’t permit the owners to continue to reap all the advantages of team equity while the guys who actually play the game are frozen out by the union structure." One step toward player ownership "would be to allow them a stake in broadcasting assets such as MLB.com and team-affiliated networks" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 6/10).