MLB: Unlike the NFL and the NBA, MLB Is Avoiding a Work Stoppage

Miguel LlullContributor IIIOctober 27, 2011

Bud Selig has presided over 16 years of labor accord since the debacle of the 1994 season.
Bud Selig has presided over 16 years of labor accord since the debacle of the 1994 season.Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

If Major League Baseball was anything like the NFL or the NBA, fans everywhere would be looking to the start of December and wondering if there will even be a 2012 season.  I'd be willing to bet that most baseball fans didn't even know that the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) was expiring this year, but it is, on December 11, 2011. 

As it is, we've hardly heard a peep about it, and that is a testament to the owners, the players and, OK, maybe a little bit to Bud Selig if for no other reason than he has been MLB's Commissioner during this time of labor accord.

This World Series has been fantastic, full of tense games, questionable decisions, blunders and history.  Imagine if we couldn't enjoy it because the players and owners were actively drawing their lines in the sand, taking away from everything happening in Texas and St. Louis.  Baseball learned its lesson in 1994, and I am more than a little bit surprised that the lesson has actually stuck for this long.

When the end of the 1994 season was canceled after the owners locked the players out on August 12, 1994, fan reaction was that of helplessness and disgust.  The prevailing feeling was that two groups of multi-millionaires proved how little they cared about the fans, those who spent their hard earned money to watch games and buy merchandise for the teams they loved.  The same fans that made their financially comfortable lives possible. 

When the labor strife caused the cancelation of the World Series, it was the final straw; it was a bad time to love a game as much as we love baseball.

The offseason is generally an exciting time for fans of most teams, reading rumors, which big-name free agent is going to sign where and what their team's chances are for the next season.  Hope is always in the air as anticipation builds until the day that pitchers and catchers report.  That offseason did nothing but build disdain and animosity between fans and the owners and players.

Attendance was down significantly the following year and really didn't recover until the Mark McGuire-Sammy Sosa love fest of 1998.  The players and owners had heard the voice of the fans, or maybe just the silence emanating from their bank accounts. Either way, they obviously understood the damage that a work stoppage can and will cause, and they have worked hard to ensure that the two sides exist in relative harmony ever since then.

As the expiration of the current CBA draws near, as fans, we should pay attention to the lack of news. It is a beautiful thing.  There was a small bit of "news" this morning that can be read here.  Compared to the news that was coming out about the NFL during their offseason and the continued NBA lockout news, this news is significant in its simplicity and optimistic nature.

As fans of the great game of baseball, we can all enjoy the final days of the season, anticipate the improvement of our favorite clubs through free agency and count down the days until spring training without having to worry if there will even be a spring training. 

Thank you Major League Baseball.


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