Thursday, October 26, 2006

New collective bargaining agreement

I was pleased to see MLB owners and players announce a new bargaining agreement on Tuesday. I hated the 1995 interruption and I'm pleased to see peace through 2011.

Some things are obvious from the agreement. First, there is a lot of money in the MLB world. Minimum salaries move from $327,000 this year to $380,000 next year. The threshold for the luxury tax moves from $148 million for 2007 to $178 million in 2011. That's 30 million dollars to share among the 26 man roster.

Two things are disappointing.

The first was a floor for team spending on salary. gurufrisbee has argued on Page 132 previously how that would improve the game. Teams like the Royals and Devil Rays try to make money not from putting a great quality product on the field, but by keeping costs to a minimum and then taking from the rest of the MLB chest in the form of revenue sharing and merchandising. It hurts MLB overall to have 2-6 teams that don't plan on contending ever.

Second, how drug and drug testing was approached. Not much was done to help clear the questions of steroid and HGH in baseball. According to ESPN,
With the new labor contract, baseball's drug-testing rules will also be extended through the 2011 season. When both sides agreed to toughened drug testing last November, they said that deal would run through the next labor contract.

Both sides said they would consider adding testing for Human Growth Hormone.

"If a urine test is developed and scientifically validated and all the 'i's' are dotted and 't's' are crossed, there is an understanding that we will adopt that test," Fehr said. "Blood tests we will talk about when one is validated. But as far as I know, and we check fairly frequently on this, there is not that testing available yet."

This is such a cop-out! Why not take blood and urine samples now and put them on ice? When a test is developed, run the old samples. Let players know NOW that if you are found guilty of ANY performance enhancing substance in the future, all their records and achievements will be annulled. This could include re-writing the record book, getting World Series rings back, etc.

For now, players who cheat won't get punished until the technology catches up. And we know that cheaters are almost always a step ahead of the those trying to play by the rules.

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