Baseball announces 5-year labor deal, including HGH testing
Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig and players union Executive Director Michael Weiner announced a labor deal Tuesday.
November 22nd, 2011
02:56 PM ET

Baseball announces 5-year labor deal, including HGH testing

[Updated at 2:56 p.m. ET] Major League Baseball and its players' union announced Tuesday that they have reached a collective bargaining deal - which includes agreement on testing players' blood for human growth hormone - that would last through 2016.

The deal, which players and team owners still need to ratify, also would expand the playoffs from eight teams to 10 by adding an extra wild-card spot to each league, and it would restrict how and when players and coaches can use smokeless tobacco products.

The playoff changes would happen by 2013, and possibly sooner, with a March 1 deadline to decide on whether to implement them for 2012.

The agreement, which would succeed the five-year agreement that is set to expire December 11, has the potential to extend baseball’s strike- and lockout-free streak to 21 years.

"Nobody back in the '70s, '80s and early '90s ... would ever believe that we would have 21 years of labor peace. It’s really remarkable," MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said at a news conference Tuesday in New York.

SI.com's Tom Verducci: Deal not without drawbacks

The deal would mandate that all players' blood be tested for human growth hormone during each spring training, and it would allow further testing for reasonable cause at all times, according to an MLB outline of the plan. MLB would be the first North American professional sports league to test players' blood for human growth hormone.

Starting with the 2012-2013 off-season, players will be subject to random off-season human growth hormone testing. MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association will study the possibility of expanding blood testing to in-season, the outline said.

Other features of the agreement, according to the outline:

- In each league, the playoffs would consist of the three division winners plus two wild cards, which would be top two teams that didn't win a division. In each league, the two wild cards would play one post-season game against each other, with the winners advancing to their league’s Division Series.

- The minimum Major League player salary will rise from $414,000 in 2011 to $480,000 in 2012, and eventually to more than $500,000. The minimum minor league salary will rise from $67,300 in 2011 to $78,250 in 2012 and eventually to more than $81,000.

- Players, managers and coaches would be banned from using smokeless tobacco during televised interviews and club appearances. Also, the same people would have to conceal tobacco products, including packages and tins, during games or any other time fans are permitted in a ballpark. When concealing, they may not carry the products in their uniforms or on their bodies. “The parties also agreed upon an extensive program of education and public outreach regarding the dangers of smokeless tobacco,” the outline says.

- The deal confirms that the Houston Astros will move from the National League to the American League in 2013. Last week, the league had said the switch would happen as soon as 2013.

- Starting in 2013, interleague games will happen throughout the season, rather than during segments of the season.

- By 2013, all Major League players will wear a new batting helmet, developed by Rawlings, designed to protect against pitches thrown at 100 mph.

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Filed under: Baseball • Sports
soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. BOMBO

    I remember the 1994 strike. The year without the world series. It killed my Expos. It was the best chance in that team's history to actually win it all, and the rug got pulled from under the fans. I don't think I've watched a whole game since.

    November 22, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. pmk1953

    Darn!!! Looks like we're stuck with 5 more years of baseball.

    November 22, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  3. banasy©

    I remember it too, Bombo.
    I *know* the fans never really returned to Comisky, especially after they built that dreadful stadium...

    November 22, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. banasy©

    @pmk1953:
    Just because *your* team sucks...*giggle*

    November 22, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. gung hoe

    @ bombo you do still have the blue jays.@banasy you have the white sux.Its not my fault that my Tigers blow your teams away!go baseball WOWSY

    November 22, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mike

    A 20% minimum pay hike from $414K to $480K? Minor leaguers (judging by their minimum salaries) getting more than trained professionals? This is not a free market. This is repercussions of big government spending on special interests.

    November 22, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • BCC

      Government payments to special interests??? Now its about TV revenue from cable companies. Let consumers pick which channels they want to watch and there will be a lot less "subscribers to YES, NESN. MASN, or you name the sports channel. If you don't like it it then boycott satellite and cable TV until they offer you choice.

      November 22, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. pmk1953

    I didn' care for "my" team even when they won the series the last time. I gave up on baseball in the '60's.

    November 22, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. banasy©

    @gung hoe:
    Three words: Two Thousand Five.

    November 22, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  9. banasy©

    Well, dayum, pmk1953, blow me out of the insult water, why don't you...lol

    November 22, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. banasy©

    @gung hoe:
    Three other words:
    Ninteen eighty-four.

    November 22, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  11. banasy©

    @gung hoe:
    Four more words:
    L M A O!

    November 22, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • George Patton

      2 words. Dadgum loser.

      November 22, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Kenny

    I love my baseball but back in 1994 I was so ticked at Professional baseball, I swore off of it. Since that time I have only enjoyed local Minor League games and their players as they play their hearts out and I have come to enjoy it much more than these self endelging Professionals with their multi million dollar contracts. I do not begrudge them for making what they can but I'm not happy with the way they and owners have gone about gouging the fans. I'm glad they reached an agreement because another strike like 1994 would only increase the ranks of people like me that refuse to attend professional games anymore.

    November 22, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • edpeters101

      I was actually disappointed when Denver got a MLB team, really liked the minors (Bears and Zephyrs)!!!

      November 22, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. pmk1953

    Banasy, I didn't mean to ruin your fun. I used to like to play baseball even after I stopped watching it. Same with basketball. I wasn't to good at either of them, but I liked participating, not watching.

    November 22, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • George Patton

      Yawn, who cares. Go back to your OWS movement.

      November 22, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. They are still $#|++y

    Not too much will change, the Cubs will still suck.

    November 22, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  15. George Patton

    3 words. Who cares, BORING!!!!!!!! Lolol, LOSERS!!!!!

    November 22, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
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