MLB CBA: 5 Things Bud Selig Did to Improve the Most Change-Resistant League
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Major League Baseball is one of the most change-resistant leagues in all of professional sports. Of the four major leagues, they have gone the longest without adding an expansion team, second longest without relocating a franchise, and most certainly the longest without a work stoppage (not to say that that's bad).
Nonetheless, with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement signed yesterday, Major League Baseball finally shook the dust off and began its journey of progress yet again, and it's all thanks to Allan H. "Bud" Selig.
Here are five notable things that he did to finally modernize the most change-resistant sports league in North America.
Putting Houston in the American League for Year-Long Interleague Play
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For the first time since 1998, a team is switching from the National League to the American League. The Milwaukee Brewers moved from the AL Central to the NL Central back then, now the Houston Astros are moving from the NL Central to the AL West in 2013, giving both the AL and NL 15 teams apiece.
While plenty of people are opposed to the move, I can say that it isn't bad at all. First of all, it's nice to see a little change once in a while. Not only does it change the tired divisional structure that we have had to deal with for almost 13 years, but it keeps the team in Houston.
Also, with the Astros moving to the American League, it opens up the possibility of year-long interleague play. For the progressive fan, this is quite the opportunity to not pass up.
Imagine seeing the Phillies play the Rangers in May, or the Mets playing the Yankees in September. This will pique fan interest and pump more money in.
In short, the Astros in the AL and expanded interleague play are both great ideas.
The Expanded Playoffs
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For all you baseball purists who gradually got used to the previous playoff structure and now are bitching and moaning about the two wild-card teams and how they are diluting the playoffs even further, I say shut up.
If there was anything the league needed to do aside from moving the Astros to the AL and possibly putting in year-long interleague play, it was expanding the playoffs.
While I admit that failure should not be rewarded (see the Red Sox and Braves collapses), I find the idea of another wild-card team a good idea. Imagine the Red Sox and Rays battling it out in a final revenge game to see who really deserves it.
Also, it would be nice to see the worse wild card win it all. That would make for a miracle season like the Cardinals had.
The New Draft Rules
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Chew on this, Scott Boras. Major League Baseball will now enforce strict rules regarding the signing of draft picks. Slot recommendations will be strictly adhered to, with the penalty for skirting the rules being heavy taxes, fines and the possible forfeiture of draft picks.
What is really cool about the draft now is teams can trade for picks, thanks to the new signing deadline in July. Not only can they do this in the draft, but they can trade star players for picks. So imagine the Marlins trading Hanley Ramirez to Kansas City in exchange for their first-rounder. That really will increase viewership of the draft, in the hopes that the Marlins would get a star player.
Also for college coaches, this will work out so that they know which high school stars will be coming to college, and which players are leaving for the Show.
And as for the forfeited draft picks previously mentioned? Say hello to the draft lottery. Teams will now be able to bid on picks that were lost by other teams, thus giving them more chances to improve their farm system with Type A prospects.
The New Free Agent Rules
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I like this new rule because it benefits my Mets especially, but anyway, top free-agent relievers, with the exception of Jon Papelbon, do not cost players first-round draft picks.
I've always contested that rule, especially when the Mets signed Billy Wagner in 2006 and Francisco Rodriguez in '09, so this is a relief for me, especially with them looking for a new closer.
In addition, the stupid Elias Ranking system no longer applies. Therefore, there will no longer be Type A and B free agents—just free agents, period.
In addition to the new rule, here is another notable change: no longer can teams sign international free agents for ridiculous sums of money. So therefore, no Aroldis Chapman-type deals, and no signing Yu Darvish for $100 million.
The New Regulations for Players
Gone are those days
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Ok, I'll admit that this one is definitely going to offend the purists, but in addition to the realignment, the playoffs, the draft and the free agency deals, there are new rules in effect for players.
First, no tobacco. This is in response to the allegations that Josh Beckett made about what the Red Sox did during their collapse this year. So no more chaw.
New batting helmets as well. The Coolflo design which has been around for six years will be done away with and replaced by a new Rawlings helmet designed to protect the wearer from a 100 mile-per-hour fastball.
Even though the helmet—known as the S100 model—is currently worn by minor leaguers and has received complaints about being too bulky, there are plans to change it to a smaller design.
And there you have it. Five changes that Selig made, which will definitely improve the league.