The owners and the MLBPA are going to reach a memorandum of understanding on the new five-year collective bargaining agreement today, and they’ve announced that there will be a news conference tomorrow afternoon to make the new labor deal public.
We know most of the larger components already: blood testing for human growth hormone, an increase in the minimum salary to $480,000 and luxury taxes on draftee bonuses and international free agent signings. It also modifies the luxury tax on high payrolls and changes compensation for clubs losing major league free agents.
But mostly this will be a gloat conference. The owners and the union acting justifiably smug for putting together what will, by the time the contract is over, be 21 straight years of labor peace.
And I’m glad they can gloat about it.
For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:
The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).
It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: