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MLB Agrees to Labor Deal: Are the Changes Good or Bad for Baseball?

According to, Bud Selig is a hero. When he became commissioner in 1992, Major League Baseball was a $1 billion a year business. Baseball had revenues of over $7 billion in 2011. The sport is at an all time high for popularity. But are the changes that have been made and the pending changes that come with the new labor agreement what baseball fans want?

Bud-seligIn 1994 when the Wild Card format was introduced, many fans were disappointed by it. While it doubled the amount of teams in the playoffs and caused revenues to soar, it caused baseball purists to cringe. Now, changes are coming again. In the latest Selig saga, two more Wild Card teams will be added to each league and an additional round of playoffs, or more accurately, a one game elimination will be added to the playoff format. 

Again baseball purists are sick to their stomachs. Sure this idea will allow more teams to get in the playoffs, keep more teams in pennant races longer, and increase revenue. But is it the right thing for the sport? Money is not everything. What about baseball tradition? What about what it means to win a division title over a 162 game season? Do these things not matter? Now some 82 win team has a chance to elimate at team that wins 100 games because Bud Selig wants to make a few more bucks for MLB. 

This is rubbish! It's as bogus as Craig Sager's hair! I understand that this format could make the sport more popular and I am all for that. But don't do it by alienating the sports most loyal fans!

You want more playoff teams? Add two more teams to the league and have 4 divisions in each league with one Wild Card team. Realign the divisions so teams are regionally close to each other. For example, the National Cs7League East should include the Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Washington Nationals, and New York Mets. This would allow fans to travel to divisional away games and help a team that is struggling with attendance to increase revenues. Could you imagine how many more tickets the Pirates would sell with Phillies, Nats, and Mets fans going to the 27 games the teams would play in Pittsburgh? 

Keep your one Wild Card team. They can play a short series against the divisional winner with the worst record in the league. This makes not only winning the division important, but having a better record than other division winners important. Talk about creating more meaningful games in October. 

What about the changes in the draft rules? Selig wants to make the draft a world draft and charge a luxury tax for teams that spend above an aggregate figure for players signed through the annual First Year Player Draft. Then there is the near elimination of draft pick compensation for the signing of free agents. 

Why make the draft worldwide? The current system rewards teams for having better scouting and does not limit a team that wants to try to tap into different regions of the world to find talent. Leave a good thing alone. And what does eliminating draft pick do? Create more trades? Leave a team that can't afford a player completely screwed? It makes no sense. 

Then there is instant replay. Some already complain that games are too long. And, where is the human element? Instant replay is fine in football, but not in baseball. Next will there be a review of balls and strikes? Why not just fire the umpires and use a computer? Again, no regard to the human element of the game and the fans that love that the fact that it is a game played and officiated by humans.

Bud Selig did a good job adding more stringent tests for HGH and keeping the union and owners happy and working well together. Kudos to Selig for increasing MLB's revenues and profitability. But shame on him for exploiting the game to do so. Let's hope he retires after 2012 when his contract is up and we get more of a baseball purist running the game. 

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