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Labor deal reportedly reached



Published: Mon, October 23, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



It's subject to the sides putting the agreement in writing.

DETROIT (AP) -- Baseball players and owners have reached a tentative agreement on a five-year labor contract, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press Sunday.

The deal, struck during bargaining in New York Friday night and Saturday, is subject to the sides putting the agreement in writing, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the agreement had not been finalized.

Milestone

In the often bitter history of baseball labor relations, reaching agreement before a contract's expiration has to be considered a milestone. The current deal, set to expire Dec. 19, was agreed to in August 2002, just hours before players were set to strike.

Lawyers were working on drafting language for the new deal Sunday, and hoped to put the finishing touches on it today or Tuesday. Once that happened, commissioner Bud Selig would announce it in St. Louis at the World Series.

"Baseball is at an all-time high point right now," Detroit's Craig Monroe said before Game 2 of the World Series. "You've got low-market teams doing well and different teams winning every year. Getting this done couldn't have come at a better time."

Most of the key provisions of the current contract will be continued with minor modifications, such as revenue sharing and the luxury tax. With the luxury tax set to expire Dec. 19, there was pressure on management to make a deal to ensure that the 2007 season would be played with the tax in place.

LaRussa happy

"I think we're all for certainty and not going through a winter of wondering what's going to be going on," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "I applaud the powers with the union and the MLB. Helps us go about our business."

Record economic success helped produce an agreement with no public rancor. Commissioner Bud Selig said last week that he estimated the sport will produce 5.2 billion in revenue this year. It was about 3.6 billion in 2001.

Selig credited the changes in the 2002 agreement with making more teams competitive.

"I had dreams of things getting better but, no, in many ways this has exceeded my fondest expectations," he said last Tuesday in St. Louis. "This sport has more parity than ever. We have more parity than any other sport. It's remarkable."

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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