There was no puff of white smoke emanating from the conference rooms of a Dallas-area hotel on Wednesday when baseball’s collective bargaining agreement was reached.
For most of us, probably including some players and owners, the prevailing thought was, “Wake me when it’s over.”
Now it’s over. And in a surprise development, the “Selig Rule” was eliminated, taking away World Series home-field advantage from the team whose league wins the All-Star Game and handing it to the team with the best overall record.
It’s a blow to Bud Selig’s legacy. The former commissioner came up with the rule in 2003 after the memorable 2002 All-Star tie when teams ran out of pitchers.
The Selig Rule never should have been implemented for the simple reason the All-Star Game is managed like a spring training game, with frequent substitutions so every team has a representative.
Here are five thoughts on what happened and what did not happen in CBA talks:
Lowering the minimum time on the disabled list from 15 days to 10 should result in increased usage from teams who like to juggle rosters to keep players fresh. It’s also a boon to players who don’t mind sitting out with “mild discomfort” in their arms or lower body. Jorge Soler’s next hamstring injury is penciled in for April 28.
There was no change to the 25-man roster through August or the 40-man roster in September. Look for more four-hour games in September with multiple pitching changes from the sixth inning on, thanks to overcrowded bullpens and risk-averse managers.
The changes in the qualifying offer for free agents are too long to list here, but the draft pick penalty for signing a player who rejected a qualifying offer has been slightly altered, theoretically making players more marketable. Actually, it’s hard to feel sorry for a free agent who rejects a one-year, $17.2 million qualifying offer and can’t find a better deal. Life isn’t always fair.
In the old CBA, a team could go from 101 losses to 103 wins and a World Series championship in four years, as the Cubs proved. All you need is a game plan, a fan base willing to pay to watch bad baseball for three or more years and a scouting department that gives you a Kyle Schwarber instead of more highly touted prospects. This still holds true, despite changes to the CBA. Any team can go from the bottom to the top with the right people in decision-making roles and a whole lot of patience from ownership and fans. Good luck, Twins.
There was no mention of banning the shift or limiting the use of relief pitchers in an inning or in a game, two ridiculous ideas floated by Manfred. Common sense prevailed, at least for the next five years.