Mary Fitton: Shakespeare's Dark Lady (darkness and obscurity being themes of the day)
columnist Bill Madden
points out some of the subterranean and darker (or illumining really) aspects of the recent deal
between Major League Baseball (management) and the Players Association
, which guarantees uninterrupted baseball thro 2016. These aspects have to do with sweeping changes in the amateur draft. Above all, the draft is meant to enhance the future of today’s poorly performing clubs, often in the so-called small markets. The owners received overall cost-containment in the draft, in that clubs will have individual annual-spending thresholds for the first ten rounds of picks that they have, and will be subject to luxury-tax and other penalties should they surpass their thresholds. It’s all a little complicated in the fine print, but the idea is equity: a literal leveling of the playing field. Another of the more subterranean and darker dimensions of this important labor agreement involves clubs (owners) essentially receiving a three-year pass on amateur-draft picks before such players are put on the respective forty-man rosters. The drag on “bonus babies” may force multi-talented young men to sign on to other sports, like professional basketball. But it is also thought, under these conditions, high-school talent would opt for college scholarships instead: not a bad thing for their future lives.