Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal


Major League Baseball has evolved over the years. What was once a game played by residents of small towns across the country is now a multibillion dollar industry with international ties and ever-expanding exposure. With this transformation, the needs of the game have changed and its place in the judicial framework is unsettled. Currently, there is a growing discrepancy between small-market and large-market Major League Baseball teams. In part, the first-year amateur draft often fails to steer the most talented players to the worst teams because of financial concerns surrounding signing rookies. Major League Baseball had the opportunity to fix this problem with the newest Collective Bargaining Agreement. The changes to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement attempted to curb the spending on rookies, and although it made steps in the right direction, Major League Baseball should implement a hard slotted salary structure to fully transform the amateur draft and ultimately improve professional baseball. This note will first give a history of antitrust law, Major League Baseball, and Collective Bargaining Agreements in Major League Baseball. It will then analyze how antitrust and labor law set the legal framework for the first-year amateur draft, the historical problems of the draft, the changes to the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, and the potential consequences of the new rules. It will then propose the implementation of a hard slotted salary as a better solution to Major League Baseball's current problems and offer a conclusion as to the likelihood of such a system being implemented.