Week 16 NFL rewind:

Big League Stew

Don’t expect a NFL-style circus for baseball’s labor talks

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The NFL and the NBA aren't the only massive sports entities with expiring labor deals threatening the future of their sports. Nope, baseball also has a collective bargaining agreement that is due to turn into a pumpkin any day now and Michael Weiner, the head of the MLBPA, is already scrambling to get into position for the negotiations.

Okay, the CBA doesn't expire until December so what Weiner is doing now is more like getting his ducks in a row before the Elmer Fudds in ownership can begin to load their rifles. Weiner recently visited Steinbrenner Field in Tampa to chit-chat with the New York Yankees players, presumably not to ask Nick Swisher about the best ways to frost one's tips.

LoHud's Sam Borden was there to get Weiner's take on the upcoming labor talks:

Along those lines, Weiner said he was optimistic about reaching a new agreement with management before the CBA expires at the end of this year, but was quick to add he is ready for anything. "Just this week I've seen a general manager talking about a salary cap and I've seen a national baseball writer talking about rumblings of contraction," he said. "Are we optimistic in a sense? Yes. But do we take anything for granted? Absolutely not."

The general manager Weiner referred to is Kenny Williams of the Chicago White Sox and the national writer is Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. No word yet if Ken Oberkfell has weighed in on baseball economics yet, but the two other Kens seemingly reached into their empty pants pockets to come up with ideas that could have as much value in these labor discussions as lint. The salary cap and contraction are two concepts that the players union fears most: one restricts earnings while the other restricts jobs. The owners bringing these ideas to the bargaining table would be as welcome as if they brought a case of stale, warm beer, then opened up each can and poured it slowly over Michael Weiner's head. {YSP:MORE}

Perhaps a salary cap and contraction are just talking points used by ownership and management and fed to baseball writers to make their actual needs and wants seem tame in comparison. There is peace in baseball now so the chance of either side bringing up a wild change over the next few months is slim. The parties realize that the best way for owners and players to approach these negotiations is as partners in a profitable enterprise — not combatants in an angry money grab that could lead to a work stoppage.

The NFL just took their eleventh-hour labor negotiations behind closed doors, probably at the request of the federal mediator who realized that too much media exposure was slowing down the proceedings. Granted, if they don't reach agreement soon and decide to wage a lockout, it will be a public relations nightmare for the NFL.

Therefore, MLB owners and players must do two very important things: Avoid public strife and, most importantly, agree! This is a fight best fought at a long oak conference table with high-priced lawyerfolk, not in front of a wall of television cameras and microphones with the fans tuned into every word. Concessions will be made, papers will be signed, but most importantly, both sides will continue to make a ton of money.

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