In your face NFL and NBA!
The commissioner and the union got a deal done before the old deal expired. I'm not talking about Giamatti, but I don't want to mention that other guy on this blog. I can't stand him, even if he did help get the deal done.
Here are some of the highlights of the new CBA:
1. Houston Astros move from the National League Central to the American League West in 2013. I don't like this one. I think the proper move would have been to move the team that was moved TO the N.L. back to the A.L. That would be Selig's Brewers. That was NOT going to happen.
2. Two more Wild Card teams will be added to the playoff mix as early as next season. The Wild Card teams in each league would most likely face each other in a one-game playoff to advance to the Division Series. MLB now has until March 1 to determine whether the playoffs will be expanded for the coming season. I'm on record as not being a big fan of change, but I'll reserve judgement on this one. My initial impression is that it WILL be an exciting play-in game, but it's going to screw up the rotation for the team that gets in and may give the team they end up playing a little advantage.
3. Blood testing for HGH with a 50-game suspension for a first failed test, 100 games for a second and lifetime ban with the right to seek reinstatement for the third. If it works, I'm all for it. Get the cheaters out of baseball.
4. A raise in the minimum salary from $414,000 this year to $480,000 in 2012, and ultimately to more than $500,000. How many players does this really affect? I'm not sure of the number of players making the league minimum, but it's a heckuva lot more mone than I make so I'll just sit here and be jealous.
5. A luxury tax on teams that spend above an aggregate figure for players signed through the annual First-Year Player Draft and the near elimination of Draft-pick compensation for the signing of free agents. This is one of the biggies from what I hear, but I won't pretend to understand it or even really care at this point. The whole structured salary based on draft slots...all this gives me tired head. I guess that wasn't even 2 cents worth was it?
6. Subject to MLB discussions with the umpires' union, the expansion of instant replay to include fair and foul calls on balls hit down the line in addition to others trapped by fielders. Replay has been used only to review home runs -- fair or foul, in or out of the park. I'm all for getting calls right as long as they can do it in a timely manner. Baseball games are slow enough. On that subject, I'd like to see them put a stop to the theatrics that go on BETWEEN pitches by some batters. Is it necessary to adjust your batting gloves after EVERY SINGLE PITCH!? I think not.
7. Restrictions for the first time on the use of smokeless tobacco on the field or in dugouts. Players are still allowed to chew, but while they're in an area where they can be picked up by a television camera, the protocol now is for them not to have pouches or tins of tobacco visible in their uniform back pockets. I don't care about this one either way. Both of my sons know from the way we've raised them that tobacco is nasty. I'd rather they limit the use of parabolic microphones so I (and my son) don't have to hear Chris Carpenter yell G**D*** after every bad pitch or hit. He's not the only one either.
That's my 2 cents. I'm interested in hearing yours, either in the comments or as a blog post of your own.