On rumors of a new labor agreement

DMZ · October 22, 2006 at 9:46 am · Filed Under General baseball 

Rumors are a-floating that a new collective bargaining agreement is all but signed. I’m going to save a longer discussion of what’s in it for later, when it’s been inked, but a couple things are interesting right now.

First, I’ll believe it when I see it. In complicated negotiations like this, the chance it could all unravel over the flavor of mustard on the roast beef sandwiches is there until there are signatures on paper. Someone’s pretty confident that it’ll get done, obviously, but as a Mariner example, take Corey Koskie – depending on who you listened to, that contract was either agreed to and signed or just agreed on, while we were saying that Koskie isn’t signed until he’s signed*. Sometimes this stuff comes out because one side wants the other to give up on the niggling details they’re still working out, and it makes things worse. Let’s assume that’s not the case.

It appears that both labor and ownership hawks have been disarmed and muzzled. This is a startling achievement, and may be the greatest thing Selig’s managed in his long reign. The players caved in the last CBA, giving up a ton, and it seemed that the next CBA negotiation would be brutal. Owners who’d been behind previous confrontations (Reisdorf in particular) saw weakness and wanted to break the union, while elements in the players’ union wanted to take back some of the ceded territory. If you were willing to stare at the tea leaves for a long time, Peter Angelos’ seeming drift from union sympathizer (within the spectrum of team owners) to Reisdorf crony made it look like even the moderates were ready to pounce. It hasn’t happened.

We can’t know the whole of how Selig did it, but we know there were massive fines threatened against teams discussing the negotiations. It certainly also appears that Selig’s used his fairly massive behind-the-scenes influence to get the ownership groups behind what must have been a reasonable stance to the point where none of them called their favorite pet reporters and leaked anything about how dangerous these new concessions were, how awful the players are, and so on. That’s impressive.

Since the last CBA, I’ve thought there was about 10-25% chance, depending on what was happening, that 2006 would see a serious work stoppage, with the playoffs lost and/or a lockout for 2007. As a baseball fan, even a Mariners fan headed into 2007 with Mike Hargrove still inexplicably managing my team, the possibility that we might see a new collective bargaining agreement reached amicably with no loss of games makes me happy.

And from a strictly personal perspective, I have a book coming out this spring (The Cheater’s Guide to Baseball, pre-order now for only $11). Books don’t sell if that sport’s fighting out a labor action, which would have meant my first book would have sold two, maybe three copies, and now at least it’ll rise on its own merits.

In any event, the two rumored changes of any impact are
– no/differently structured draft pick compensation for free agent departures
– draft picks get slotted bonuses

If or when the details of the collective bargaining agreement are announced, we’ll discuss the impacts, good and bad, of those changes at length here. These are not clearly good for the sport, despite what euphoria might spill over into coverage, but I’m not willing to do analysis without knowing more. For now, though, news that the agreement’s done – even that they’ve reached this point amicably – is good news for the sport, and for us as fans.

* oddly, despite us waving our hands and shouting about it, there are people out there who believe we were spreading the Koskie-is-signed story, which means, at least, that there are people who can’t or aren’t willing to use search


22 Responses to “On rumors of a new labor agreement”

  1. shaunmc on October 22nd, 2006 9:58 am

    Only eleven dollars! That’s a great deal! And will it be both informative AND entertaining?

  2. DMZ on October 22nd, 2006 10:02 am


  3. msb on October 22nd, 2006 10:50 am

    and it make a lovely Christmas gift, as well. Amazon gift-wraps, you know.

    CNN has a column on it today,

    “One other source, speaking on condition that his name not be used, cautioned there’s a lot of work left to accomplish before there is a deal. “There’s reason for optimism. But you know the history, there are no guarantees,” he said. “There hasn’t been any heavy lifting yet on the major issues yet.””

  4. JI on October 22nd, 2006 12:03 pm

    Wow, a lobar deal without the threat of a strike.

  5. JMB on October 22nd, 2006 12:46 pm

    CNN wrote a column about Derek’s book? Wow!

  6. DMZ on October 22nd, 2006 12:52 pm

    That would be awesome.

  7. NBarnes on October 22nd, 2006 1:07 pm

    I have no particular feelings about either draft-picks-as-free-agent-compensation or draft slot money, so in the particulars I find it hard to feel any way in particular about this. However, on the grounds that I hate baseball’s owners with the white-hot fury of a thousand stars, any agreement that doesn’t involve Jerry Reisdorf and/or Peter Loria breaking down in tears on live national television and begging for mercy is insufficent.

  8. EnglishMariner on October 22nd, 2006 1:36 pm

    They won’t deliver to England, and Amazon.co.uk doesn’t stock it. Zounds!

  9. The Ancient Mariner on October 22nd, 2006 2:36 pm

    Who’s Peter Loria?

  10. David J. Corcoran I on October 22nd, 2006 2:38 pm

    Loria has been worse for the game than Pete Rose. He can rot in hell and die.

  11. David J. Corcoran I on October 22nd, 2006 2:38 pm

    Wait, not Pete Rose. Bud Selig or Jose Canseco.

  12. JMB on October 22nd, 2006 2:39 pm


    Shoot us an email. I’m sure Derek can work something out for you.

  13. msb on October 22nd, 2006 2:48 pm

    didn’t Peter Loria co-star in The Maltese Falcon?

  14. terry on October 22nd, 2006 3:01 pm

    #6: if you send my daughter an advanced copy, she will write a review of it for her class paper (3rd grade)…

    I of course would probably read it too 🙂

  15. Jim Thomsen on October 22nd, 2006 3:23 pm

    Will DMZ’s voice be on the book-on-tape version?

  16. DMZ on October 22nd, 2006 3:29 pm

    I haven’t signed any deals for an audiobook verison. If you buy a copy, though, I’ll be happy to read some of it and send it to you, ala my podcasting of short fiction.

  17. MattThompson on October 22nd, 2006 3:39 pm

    #8 : Amazon will certainly ship books to England. It’s the other stuff (electronics, housewares, etc) they don’t ship overseas.

  18. DMZ on October 22nd, 2006 3:44 pm

    You should buy it now.

  19. Jim Thomsen on October 22nd, 2006 3:51 pm

    I think Christopher Walken should read it.

  20. DMZ on October 22nd, 2006 4:19 pm

    Okay, well, if you can pull that off for me, that’d be great.

  21. NBarnes on October 22nd, 2006 10:58 pm

    It is a measure of my distain for the puddle of snot that is usually referred to as ‘Jeffery Loria’ that I don’t bother to remember his first name.

  22. marc w on October 23rd, 2006 8:18 am

    It’s ‘Reinsdorf’ not ‘Reisdorf.’

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