NEW YORK - There continues to be labour peace in baseball.
After the NFL survived its brief labour tiff during the summer and the NBA currently wallows through its acrimonious lockout, Major League Baseball will continue without a work stoppage for another five years.
Owners and players on Tuesday announced a new collective bargaining agreement through the 2016 season.
Included in the new deal will be expanded playoffs -- one additional wild card team for each league -- starting no later than 2013, an increase in the minimum salary and blood testing for human growth hormone.
"I am thrilled for the fans that the clubs and the players of Major League Baseball, together, have the opportunity to further build on our game's unprecedented popularity," Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement on Tuesday. "Labour peace has proven essential to the best interests of baseball and its millions of fans, who have attended our ballparks in historic numbers over the last eight years. During this remarkable era, we have seen outstanding competitive balance, record business performance and a seamless transition to the new modes in which fans want to embrace our sport. I truly believe the best is yet to come for the game we love."
The conclusion of a new five-year pact will give the sport uninterrupted labour peace for more than 20 years, something once considered unimaginable after constant battles between the owners and players led to strikes in 1981 and 1994 -- the latter of which eventually forced the cancellation of that year's World Series and delayed the start of the 1995 campaign.
"Nobody would ever have believed we would have 21 years of labour peace," Selig added at a joint press conference with union members Tuesday.