So that baseball can be played again in the USA: The tariff dispute in the professional MLB league is over, the new season begins on April 7. The players’ union and team owners agreed to this on Thursday, ending the call after 99 days. Blocking, a construction that only exists in American professional sports with its guaranteed saying: during this time, the players did not train with their teams, the negotiations took place in Florida and then were interrupted again, the start of the season originally planned for the end of March soon it was no longer possible to celebrate, the first rounds were cancelled. It is only the fourth time in Major League Baseball history, the first time since 1995, that the season has not started on its originally scheduled date due to a salary dispute. But now the preparations begin.
What was it about? And how is the agreement now? Of course it was about money, billions of dollars, and yet the debates should not be reduced to the fact that in professional sports the price screw keeps turning more and more. Unlike European football, for example, with its ever-increasing transfer fees and consultants’ fees, in which many top clubs have long been in financial difficulty due to the ongoing arms race. On the other hand, a money-strapped American sports franchise hasn’t been heard from in decades. And while in Germany the soccer champion was FC Bayern nine times in a row, there have been eight different World Series champions in the MLB.
Key MLB deal details: Salary cap will now be $230 million per team per season, gradually increasing to $244 million by 2026; for every extra dollar, the clubs pay a luxury tax. The minimum salary for young players (previously $570,500) is now $700,000, rising to $780,000. And, beyond the money: Even in the National League – this is one of the two leagues that make up the MLB – there will be a “designated hitter” in the future (as has already happened in the American League); pitchers no longer necessarily have to go to the plate, putting an end to the pitcher’s often grotesque attempts at bat.
In the future there will be twelve instead of ten participants in the playoffs
Other changes: A lottery procedure in the talent exchange aims to ensure that clubs no longer lose on purpose in the future to secure a better position in the right to vote for top talent. Additionally, rules for the upcoming season will be decided in the next 45 days, such as longer run times or a shot clock to reduce raw playing time from the current three hours per game. Conclusion: It all makes a lot of sense, so the hard fight of those involved for the common future of their sport was worth it. As is also evident from the fact that most are upset that, for the first time in history, players will wear advertising on their jerseys and helmets, a sacrilege for traditionalists.
The change that will probably change the sport the most is this: there will now be twelve participants in the playoffs instead of the previous ten. This is more serious than it seems at first glance. Because those who had no chance of getting into the knockout round early on sent expensive players during the season to save money and create wiggle room. What that led to will be revealed in the TV series. ted lasso wonderfully described as an answer to an English footballer’s question about what’s happening in the US in the final third of the season in light of the lack of promotion and relegation drama: “These are meaningless games in stadiums lifeless, half empty, and everyone seems to find that okay.”
“When the deal goes through, it’s going to be the craziest free agent frenzy we’ve ever seen.”
More playoff entrants should mean clubs invest more in midfield for that title shot: The Washington Nationals won the 2019 World Series as the club with the eighth-best regular-season record. And it builds more excitement towards the end of this regular season with more clubs contending for the playoffs. The NBA basketball league has almost perfected this: 20 of the 30 teams are here, in the first half of the season it’s about producing spectacular images, only then does it get serious.
So it’s about keeping the search for the best exciting for longer, because then more people are watching and you’re generating more revenue. If that increases player salaries (average spending per club was $132m last season, likely $150m now), without diverging the league on spending, as it happens in European football, then everything is satisfied.
“When the deal goes through, it will be the craziest free agent frenzy we’ve ever seen. Break out the popcorn,” wrote Joc Pederson, a longtime outfielder with the Los Angeles Dodgers and more recently in Chicago and Atlanta. on Twitter. Pederson is a free agent, one without a contract, and because negotiations were off-limits before the deal, things really kick into high gear now: About 200 players can sign contracts, including industry giants like Carlos Correa, Freddie Freeman , Trevor Story, Clayton Kershaw. and Chris Bryant. This creates excitement again, because almost every fan wants to know: Who is my favorite club signing? Do we have chances to reach the playoffs and titles?