MLB and players are obliged to keep the peace to agree on a new pact

MLB and players are obliged to keep the peace to agree on a new pact

ATLANTA – Immediately the last out of the World Series falls between the Atlanta Braves and the Houston Astros, a different game will begin in the Major League Baseball (MLB). One in which the contenders are, financially and morally, obliged to play quickly and fairly.

With the end of the 2021 season, the current five-year Collective Labor Agreement (CBA) between MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) will also end. Representatives from both agencies have been negotiating for more than a year to try to have the new CBA pressed by December 1, when the current one will officially be sold out.

For a wide segment of the industry, the possibility of some kind of work stoppage (because they are on vacation until mid-February, players do not have to go on strike, but the owners could still declare a lockout, an action measure direct to freeze relationships) is high due to the sour tone of public discussions between MLB and MLBPA of late.

Disputes arising from different factors, almost all economic, that put at risk the peace that baseball has enjoyed since the great strike of 1994-95 that canceled the World Series for the first time since 1904.

Game 4 of the fall classic, which was Atlanta’s spectacular 3-2 win over Houston with two straight home runs in the seventh inning to take a 3-1 lead in the series, was Saturday’s top-rated show. in the U.S. Although final numbers weren’t available on Sunday, ratings show significant growth in the youngest segment of the population, which has been the most elusive for baseball in recent times.

Despite not having any of the nine most popular teams nationally, the 2021 fall classic has had a much better audience than last year, which faced the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Tampa Bay Rays.

According to the number of followers on social networks, Atlanta is # 10 and Houston is # 14 among the 30 clubs in the Major Leagues, while the Dodgers are only behind the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox in various rankings of popularity.

That is very good news at the end of a season in which baseball still suffers with the serious consequences that the terrible coronavirus pandemic caused to the entire planet. After playing a tournament cut by two-thirds and without fans in 2020, MLB organized a normal season with a conditional return of the public to the stadiums.

Global attendance of 45.3 million this year was the lowest since 44.7 million fans flocked to the parks in 1984. Optimistically, that was 45 million more than the previous year.

According to the economic magazine Forbes, despite the crisis arising from COVID-19, MLB teams increased in value by 4% to an average value of $ 1.85 billion in 2021. The Yankees are now worth $ 5 billion , the Dodgers $ 3,400, the Red Sox $ 3,300 million, the Chicago Cubs $ 3,200 and the San Francisco Giants $ 3,100. All the clubs are worth more than a billion.

And the economic future is quite promising.

In 2022, the new agreements for seven seasons begin with the national television that MLB signed with FOX, ESPN and TBS. The league, which also has a separate agreement with YouTube, generates huge resources from direct broadcast packages on and its popular At Bat app.

It is even possible that another platform will join as a baseball client, paying a fortune for the games in the middle of the week that ESPN gave up in its new contract. And then we have some new regional club television deals, stadium naming contracts, and the billion-dollar pact that MLB signed to put the Nike logo on their uniforms, among others.

The last thing MLB needs in the process of recovering from the economic blow of the coronavirus is a work stoppage. And those who run the business are very clear on that.

During an informal meeting with the press at Houston’s Minute Maid Park before the first game of the World Series, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said he is optimistic a deal can be reached by Dec. 1, though accepted the fact that there are conflicts between the parties over major economic problems.

“The most important point is that I know that our clubs are 100 percent committed to the idea that they want a deal by December 1,” Manfred said. “I am a believer in the process. We meet regularly and I hope we find a way to reach an agreement before December 1, “he added.

“The dialogue is ongoing about a number of moving parts,” said Tony Clark, the MLBPA’s executive director.

“Meet physically [a diferencia de solo hacerlo vía zoom u otra vía, debido a la pandemia del coronavirus] it has been an advantage. We hope that those kinds of opportunities continue. Beyond that, we are looking to take advantage of as many days as the schedule allows for the next five weeks or so to continue that dialogue, “he added.

More than just a speech to sound politically correct, Manfred and Clark, MLB and the MLBPA, are bound to keep labor peace in the baseball industry. For the good of the individual and of the entire industry.

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