With the owners and players having come to terms on a five-year labor agreement that will ensure 21 years of labor peace, it's apparent the price paid during the 1994 work stoppage, which wiped out the postseason and delayed the start of the 1995 season, had a positive impact.
Its tough to say the labor battle back then was worth it, but it certainly has made life better. It's a lesson the NBA could well learn from, and one the NHL most likely will learn first hand a year from now when former Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Don Fehr undertakes his first labor negotiation for NHL players.
Not only is baseball facing two decades without a work stoppage after suffering through eight work stoppages since 1972, but the owners and players haven't even pushed the envelope in their negotiations. The new deals have been in place before the old deals expired.
Common sense has prevailed.
In professional sports, both sides have too much to lose.
A key for baseball is not only the damage done by the 1994-95 strike, but also the fact that both sides have had continuity in their negotiations -- Rob Manfred for the owners and Michael Weiner for the players, who laid his groundwork with the players as their negotiator and replaced Fehr as the executive director following the previous negotiations.
The two men aren't necessarily best friends, but at least they are familiar with each other's negotiating style and don't have to waste time with the preliminary feeling out process.
NO NEED TO WORRY While there has been a lot of trepidation expressed about the impact of new restrictions on baseball's amateur draft, don't get too concerned. What the new agreement does is eliminate leverage from agents, and actually provide a boost for college baseball.
There is still going to be plenty of money available to sign top amateurs. Those who are screaming the sky is falling are not looking at the big picture. They moan that the slotting values invoked by Major League Baseball in 2011, which totaled $228 million, would have resulted in 20 of the 30 clubs exceeding their allotted bonus money by at least 15 percent.
The projected bonus structure for 2012 will probably be closer to $300 million, and only six clubs would have exceeded their limit.
The colleges will benefit because teams won't overpay for the second-tier high school players, who will be more likely to opt to play at least three years of college baseball. More important, with the signing deadline moved up from Aug. 16 to mid-July, college coaches will have an additional month to try and fill voids created by losing players to pro ball.
There were 101 players signed on deadline day in August, which not only created voids in recruiting plans of college coaches, but also cost each of those players on-field pro experience during the 2011 season.
Tampa Bay is the one small-market franchise that has been successful in building on its strong drafts, and much was made when they spent $11 million on last summer's draft. The Rays, however, also had 12 of the top 89 selections.
COLD WAR Wondering why the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs seemed to have so many of the same candidates in their initial managerial searches? It's because they did. It's because last summer when then-Boston-now-Cubs general manager Theo Epstein decided a change was going to be made with Red Sox manager Terry Francona, he had his then-assistant-now-Red Sox-general manager Ben Cherrington develop a list of managerial candidates.
Seems Epstein took that list with him to Chicago, and much to Cherrington's chagrin the Cubs used it for the basis of their search, which resulted in hiring Milwaukee third base coach Dale Sveum, who was twice bypassed for the job by the Brewers, but the No. 1 candidate with the Red Sox and Cubs.
Epstein says he wants to create a new culture at Wrigley Field, which will be welcomed. However, Sveum could be in for a shock if he has to deal with the same front office involvement Francona dealt with in Boston, where he would receive up to three different suggested lineups from Red Sox front office help each day of the season.
RARE MOVE How big a deal was it for the Minnesota Twins to fire general manager Billy Smith and replace him with his predecessor, Terry Ryan, earlier this month? Well, Smith became only the third member of the Twins' baseball operation to be relieved of his duties in the past 26 years.
Since Ryan first assumed the GM job Nov. 24, 1986, Smith and former third baseman coaches Rick Renick (1990) and Al Newman (2005) pretty well sum up the non-voluntary departure of Twins baseball personnel.