LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – While NFL and NBA labor talks have been rocky and the possibility of work stoppages loom in both sports, baseball’s situation is far more optimistic.
The sport’s collective bargaining agreement is set to expire in December, but neither the Players Association nor baseball owners seem overly concerned about potential obstacles preventing them from working out a new agreement.
Braves players had a 90-minute meeting Wednesday morning with union head Michael Weiner and some of his assistants, who’ll travel to each training camp in Florida and Arizona to meet with players.
“Basically it was an informational thing telling us now’s not the time to go buy a 5,000-acre ranch or a $2 million house or a $100,000 car,” Braves third baseman Chipper Jones said. “Now’s the time to start preparing for the future if there is a work stoppage in the near future. You hope it doesn’t come to that.
“We’re certainly going to do our part from a players association standpoint to get [a new agreement] done.”
Unlike during the final year of some previous CBAs, there haven’t been threats or hardened stances taken by either side on the issues expected to come up in negotiations.
“Realignment, another round of the playoffs — there’s a bunch of things that need to be talked about,” Jones said. “But I don’t think it’s anything that’s going to put us in a lockout situation.”
Compared to the NFL and NBA, baseball’s labor situation is running smoothly.
“That’s the way we want to keep it,” said catcher Brian McCann, the Braves’ elected union representative.
“I didn’t get a sense that it was dire, let’s put it that way,” Jones said of Wednesday’s meeting. “I’ve been in a work stoppage before, and the tone [before that] was completely different.”