Moser: The rise of sports’ strongest players union

From SABR member Zack Moser at Beyond the Box Score on February 16, 2017:

Mere days after the Major League Baseball Players Association and the league reached an agreement this past December, the consensus was in: the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA), while not including provisions for an international draft, was a blow to labor, a result mostly of the Players Association’s own making.

Since the new CBA’s myriad rules and conditions resemble Ben Wyatt’s “Cones of Dunshire” board game from Parks and Recreation, I would recommend familiarizing yourself with the changes from a few different perspectives. There are a handful of good summaries and analyses of the agreement, including Craig Goldstein’s at Baseball Prospectus and Jeff Passan’s at Yahoo Sports. The less consequential changes are, in general, good for fans and good for the players. Most obviously, All-Star Game no longer determines home-field advantage in the World Series, the first unceremonious snuffing out of a Bud Selig pet project in the Rob Manfred era. There’s a few extra days off tossed in mid-season, stretching the total number of calendar days from 183 to 187, and the 15-day disabled list has been reduced to 10 days, giving teams more flexibility when a player has a minor injury.


In recent years, the MLBPA has become an organization searching for a purpose. Or, rather, they’re now an organization with a singular purpose: the preservation of labor-management peace. Gone are the days of the combative union that fought fiercely for players. When the other side wields the sword of the international draft and defends its own interests with vigor, then an organization geared toward peace at any cost will lose every time.

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Originally published: February 16, 2017. Last Updated: February 16, 2017.