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The Secret To Baseball's Labor Peace

As you've no doubt heard, the immensely successful National Football League has labor problems and is talking about shutting things down for a while. As you might have heard, the moderately successful National Basketball Association has labor problems and is talking about shutting things down for a while. Meanwhile, poor, downtrodden, non-salary-capped Major League Baseball just keeps plowing along, with no serious labor issues in nearly 20 years.

After the jump, Maury Brown on the (seeming) absurdity of it all ...

For those that are watching, it comes back to that crazy world… "Wait a minute. The league that has no salary cap is in better shape than the two that have them? What?" As one top executive from a league other than MLB told me this week, "The complexities of a capped systems can lend themselves to such conflicts as we are seeing. There’s more moving parts."

Yes, I'm sure the complexities don't help. But it's more than that. For decades, the baseball players fought the owners like hell and the owners fought back like hell. The players won most of the battles, thanks to their smarts -- well, really the smarts of their lawyers -- and their solidarity. But the result is that the players and the owners are now on roughly equal footing ... and that means nobody feels backed into a corner, and nobody feels that they've got the upper hand and should use that leverage while they can.

Players in the NBA and the NFL, however wealthy they might be, are still firmly part of employee-employer relationships. In Major League Baseball, it's almost as if the employees co-own the company, which obviously gives everyone significantly less incentive to cause trouble.

Of course, all this analysis might look ridiculous in eight months, when baseball's players and owners might be fighting about the next Collective Bargaining Agreement. But everyone's predicting labor peace. Again.