Players from the United States, Canada, Dominican Republic and Venezuela converged in Orlando, Fla., last week for the Major League Baseball Players Association's annual executive board meeting.
Over two-plus days, players of diverse backgrounds and all experience levels discussed on- and off-field issues ranging from rules to budget to industry economics as they set the union's agenda and established priorities for 2015 and beyond.
"This might have been the best turnout I can remember," said Craig Breslow, a longtime MLBPA activist. "It's important as players that we stay engaged in all of the issues that affect us, and the attendance and the quality of discussion this week were indicative of that engagement."
From left: Chris Dickerson, Curtis Granderson, Jose Bautista, Kevin Slowey, Drew Butera
The Players Association has always stressed the bonds that tie together each generation of players, with veterans passing on the fraternity's legacy to younger players. This year's meeting demonstrated that value, as respected veterans such as Jose Bautista and Jimmy Rollins helped to educate players who measure their Major League experience in days and months rather than years.
The meetings covered several topics important to players, including industry economics, the union's budget, salary arbitration, scheduling and the Joint Drug Agreement. On-field issues like "pace of game," the home-plate collision rule and instant replay were also discussed.
In the even-year election of union officers, Curtis Granderson and Jeremy Guthrie were re-elected as Players Association representatives, and Justin Masterson and Carlos Villanueva were re-elected as alternates. Breslow, Chris Capuano and Ross Ohlendorf remained on the pension committee, and they were joined by Bautista, who was elected to fill the remaining vacant spot.
"The meetings were well-attended and productive in terms of discussing current issues as well as educating younger players and getting them involved in the day-to-day affairs of the Players Association," Guthrie said.