Labor Peace in Baseball: Who would have guessed?

Bud Selig photo taken from Google Images

Sports radio was a buzz last week in the wake of the Super Bowl with discussion about when fans may again see their favorite professional teams back on the gridiron. While many people started out with an optimistic view of the discussions between the owners and the players association, there is currently a very sour taste in both side’s mouths as the owners cancelled the last scheduled meeting.

The same can be said for the NBA, where fans may not see basketball past June in 2011. According to Commissioner David Stern, the league is set to lose $350 million this year and lost $300 million last year. With the two sides extremely far apart, many analysts believe a lockout in the NBA is practically inevitable.

There have even been some talks about labor unrest and unhappiness in the NHL as the player’s association recently hired former head of the MLBPA Donald Fehr to fight for their rights.

Amazingly enough, the one league that is not currently facing a work stoppage is the one that fans may characterize with labor unrest the most. Baseball is good to go for 2011 and beyond. Is this to say that there will never be any kind of strike or discussions of the like in the future? Certainly not, but in a time when all other major sports are going through turmoil, it’s almost an oxymoron for America’s Pastime to be the only one that isn’t.

This means a number of things, but most importantly, that Commissioner Bud Selig is going to get the last laugh. While every interview with him seems to ask him if he feels his sport is falling by the wayside in America, he can now point to the fact his sport is the most stable of the professional leagues.

Selig hasn’t been perfect during his time at the helm. Many would argue the handling of moving the Montreal Expos wasn’t executed the way it could have, or that the new rule about the All Star Game winner getting home field advantage in the World Series is the furthest thing from common sense, or some may even point to baseball not having a salary cap as one of its main faults. Selig, on the other hand, only has to remind fans that they have had uninterrupted entertainment from professional baseball for 16 years.

Selig can see the end of his career in sight and he is truly going out on top. It is realistic to think that he wants to get out of the game before he has to make any more major rulings about the instant replay everyone else seems to be pushing for and he is so vehemently against.

The commissioner likes the game the way it is. The changes he has made during his tenure at the helm were largely alterations that came due to pressure from other sources. Perhaps his greatest accomplishment other than keeping the payers on the field, was figuring out the new revenue sharing policies that have helped to level the playing field to some degree for all teams. There is a long way to go for this as many are still fighting for a salary cap and floor so owners are forced to spend, but not too much.

For whatever complaints fans have about the current state of the game, there is one thing they cannot argue with. Having the game is much better than not having it and over the past decade and a half, that is what we have had. At this point, Selig should be content with basketball and football owning the air waves because they are doing it for all the wrong reasons.

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