Baseball Diamond

Time for MLB to address game’s real problems

Oh, happy day! Major League Baseball’s owners and players came up with a way to divide fans’ jillions of dollars over the next four years!

Younger players will get teased with a few more hundreds of thousands of dollars before qualifying for the real payday known as free agency. Veteran players will benefit from the increased competitive balance tax threshold.

They usually refer to this as the CBT, since the full name takes up too many seconds of valuable sound-bite time. The CBT dictates how many jillions of dollars teams are allowed to pay their players before having to give money to teams whose payrolls are often barely within range of the big-spenders’ shadow.

Essentially, the CBT has become a Salary CAP. The competition part actually refers to the battle between the behemoths for a star’s services. It has little impact in assuring the MLB’s mighty mites will suddenly become championship contenders.

For example, does anyone expect the Baltimore Orioles to go crazy and increase their payroll by 500 percent? If so, please call so we can haggle over the price of a famous New York bridge.

Baseball’s new deal (with no disrespect intended to Franklin Delano Roosevelt) does address a few issues that actually have to do with baseball – the game – rather MLB – the business.

The designated hitter rule now applies to both leagues. After a half-century in just the American League, file this under better late than never.

The playoffs will expend to six teams in each league. Admittedly, this doesn’t set well with someone who believes the playoffs are better with less than more, but it does generate increased TV money. Put more money on the table and both owners and players will sniff it out.

As for issues that fans’ care about … they never quite made it from the bored room to the board room.

The time it takes to complete nine innings of a big-league game remains a mountainous problem that players and owners largely ignore. Pitchers will continue contemplating each pitch as if world peace depends on it. Managers will continue making four or five pitching changes. Umpires will continue to have floating strike zones, most of which are too small.

“There’s a lot of work to do moving forward with respect to where our game is at and where it needs to head,” Players Association president Tony Clark said.

When those discussions begin, we’ll take both sides seriously.

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