Yesterday, I was perusing my iPad and came across the headline: Significant Progress in CBA Talks. A few seconds passed before I realized the headline was referring to Major League Baseball, not the NBA. Yes, in case you’re unaware, the NBA isn’t the only professional sports league in the midst of negotiating new labor terms. Bud Selig, the owners, and the MLBPA have been privately working toward a December 11 deadline. Their self-imposed goal of reaching new terms by the World Series expired, but news reports indicate they’re still on target to reach the hard deadline. If they don’t hit any snags along the way, it is expected that player movement will proceed without interruption.
Bud Selig and the MLBPA have been so successful at keeping their meetings private that it’s virtually impossible to find any specific details surrounding the new deal terms that have been agreed upon by both parties. However, in an interview with Bob Costas, Selig did suggest changes to the All-Star Game, interleague play, instant replay, and more were a possibility. And, according to ESPN, one of the last outstanding issues to overcome involves signing bonuses in the first-year player drafts.
We’re now a culture that reviews transparency as a right, rather than a privilege. However, Selig is well within his right to keep the progress of CBA negotiations behind closed doors. As we’ve learned from the NFL and NBA, involving the media in the process is problematic. The media interprets and shapes the message they want fans to receive allowing the public to choose sides and scrutinize every chess move. Ultimately, that strategy benefits no one. The images of both sides take a hit as they bear the weight of determining how to divide money of which only 1% of Americans can relate.
While fans have been both annoyed and entertained by the public back and forth between David Stern and Billy Hunter, I’m sure the majority would trade that in for some good ol’ fashioned roundball. Although Selig took his typical boring route of doing things, at the end of the day, it’s more effective and something fans will appreciate come Spring.
Breathe easy sports fans. While enduring a long winter without basketball is still a possibility, thanks to Bud Selig, we’re assured MLB will conduct business as usual. Is it March yet?