It’s been a good minute since I’ve been in this space. From June through December, I was blessed to be actively involved with the Major League Baseball Players Association as they hammered out a new collective bargaining agreement with MLB. It was a challenging and rewarding time; the culmination of over two years of working as a consultant to the PA for what was a particularly challenging round of bargaining.
By far, the best aspect of it all was agreeing to a deal that is fair and equitable for the players and the clubs. A close second was the opportunity to work closely with a terrific group of talented professionals at the MLBPA. It was truly rewarding to work alongside the Executive Director, Tony Clark, the brilliant attorneys in the legal department (many of whom are long-time colleagues and friends), and to interact with all of the great people on the PA’s staff who do so much behind the scenes to make life easier.
Of course, by reaching a fair deal, we have the assurance of another five years of baseball without a work stoppage. That is certainly good news for the players and clubs, but also for fans, many of whom are already counting down the days to pitchers-and-catchers.
Yet, in the immediate aftermath of the deal, there were some dire reports concerning particular facets of the new agreement. Members of the media, agents, club officials and even a few players raised questions and offered critiques of the deal. Whether it was related to changes to the competitive balance tax, the qualifying offer system or the market for international players, there were a few grumbles from various quarters.
Some of the criticism was based on an incorrect or incomplete understanding of the deal – that’s one thing. Some of it was legitimately based on facts. Yet, no matter how informed any of the commentary may have been, at least one critical factor was overlooked: it’s not the new rules that will determine the efficacy of the deal, but how the parties – players, clubs, agents and the union – conduct themselves under the new set of rules. That remains to be seen, and must be allowed to play itself out before anyone can determine the full wisdom of the new agreement.
In the meantime, as the chill of winter grips several parts of the country, the good news on the horizon is that in a few short weeks spring training camps will open, and the boys of summer will return to prepare for another exciting season.
As for me, I now can return to a few of the things that I have been missing over the past six months, including interacting with you in this space, sharing ideas and encouraging one another in our daily walk.