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New CBA means interesting changes for MLBPosted Wednesday, December 14, 2011, at 8:45 AM
By COREY NOLES
The details of the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between Major League Baseball and the MLB Player's Association began to come out yesterday. Many of them are expected but a few were quite a surprise and will have an interesting effect on the game.
Here are a few:
* All 30 clubs will be broken into six-five team divisions. No surprise here. We already knew the Astos were leaving and what that meant.
* All 30 clubs will play up to 20 interleague games per season. This one has its ups and downs. My biggest downside is that it means with your pitchers getting less at bats, they might not have the practice they need when it comes time to bat for a NL match-up. I'm not talking about experienced guys, I'm thinking of young ones like Shelby Miller who will likely reach the club in late 2012. On the positive side of things, our pitchers get less at bats! More room to throw another big bat in the lineup even on a day off. You can still rest a guys legs, but have the threat in the lineup.
* We'll have a second Wild Card berth now. It reportedly has not yet been decided whether this will be a game or a statistical tiebreaker. The statistical matchup seems dumb to me. Isn't that what we have in place right now? If you're going to do it, give us the one day play off. The more games the merrier as far as I'm concerned. A statistical playoff? If you do that, then why bother?
* A handful of other non-surprising moves include lengthening the All Star break by one additional day to a total of four days and pushing the Home Run Derby and game back to Tuesday and Wednesday. This won't take effect until 2013. Also expect an expanded use of the replay feature. The plan is to extend it to fair/foul calls and to determine whether fan interference is legit or not.
Those were the expected changes. Now, for the interesting ones:
* Players on the 40-man roster will now be given their own rooms during Spring Training. They have had this luxury for quite a few years during the regular season, but now they can have their time in Florida and Arizona, as well.
* A player wants to change his number? Think ahead or be ready to shell out the dough. Under the new agreement, MLB must be notified of the intended change by July 31 of the preceding year or the player will be responsible for purchasing "all inventory of apparel and goods featuring his existing number."
* Players may not throw game equipment with the intent to harm "non-uniformed" personnel. If Manny Ramirez decides to throw his bat at you, rest assured he will be fined. Players also are not allowed to be critical umpires, the Commissioner and the Commissioner's Office.
* Players may not have corporate logos tattooed on their bodies. This is my personal favorite. I was really looking forward to seeing someone with goldenpalace.com tattooed on their forehead. (For more information, watch a boxing match.)
* Stop being pokey. Batters who step out of the box every three seconds to "knock the dirt off of their cleats" and pitchers who threaten a base runner with dozens of pick-off attempts will now be punished accordingly. Basically, they're trying to speed the game like they've been trying to do for a decade or so. LaRussa's retirement will help that somewhat, too. As much as I like the guy, man he could slow down a game.
* Here are my two favorites: Players are required to be in accordance with "MLB's Social Media Guidelines." Haven't heard of them? That's because they haven't been developed yet. My other favorite is that players may not have obscene nicknames written on their bat. The standard is that it is "not reasonably likely to offend fans, business partners, players and others associated with the game."
While I've made fun of some of these, I'm really glad to see they reached an agreement rather quickly. As an NBA fan, I was really disappointed with how their negotiatiing went and I'm glad to see this one went a lot faster. The politics of the game have Cardinals fans upset enough already without factoring in the possibility of a lockout.
Corey Noles is the editor of The North Stoddard Countian as well as staff writer/New Media Coordinator for The Daily Statesman. See his column at dailystatesman.com or on semoball.com to comment. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Corey Noles, staff writer for The Daily Statesman and Editor of The North Stoddard Countian, is the author of a regular baseball/St. Louis Cardinals column and also uses his blog to sound off on various happenings in sports. He also operates a weekly baseball mailbag column.
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