MLB willing to give up “significant concessions” to get a worldwide draft

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Buster Olney adds some info to the news we heard yesterday about the league and the union’s negotiations to institute an international draft:

I still don’t get this. Teams simply don’t spend that much on international free agent signings. They do spend a lot in arbitration and all teams have lots of players making the minimum or thereabouts. It doesn’t seem like giving away things like that make financial sense when compared to the relative small dollars given to guys on the international market.

Meanwhile, the players have, historically, liked to see more guys subject to the draft and have always been willing to negotiate away the rights of others like this. So why do they need big giveaways? I know why they’d want them, but MLB can’t think it has to give away that much, can it?

Can someone tell me what’s going on here? Why, apart from being anti-free agency, politically speaking, are the owners so focused on this? Why, apart from being pro-draft for others, politically speaking, are the players so into it too?

Pirates pitcher Steven Brault sang the National Anthem last night

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Pittsburgh Pirates swingman Steven Brault has a 4.38 ERA in 19 games this year. He also has a music degree and is a professional singer on the side of his baseball gig. He didn’t get into last night’s game against the Brewers as a pitcher, but he did get to use his singing skills.

Specifically, Brault got to sing the National Anthem. And he did an OK job of it too. He’s not Whitney Houston or anything, but he did what all Anthem singers who are not as gifted as Whitney Houston was should do: he kept it straight and businesslike, avoiding unnecessary flourishes:

It’s march, dang it, not a ballad, and it should be treated as such. Unless of course you’re Whitney Houston.