BASEBALL'S new labor contract includes more video replay, the chance for a longer All-Star break and a small, but likely welcome perk for players: the chance to get a private room instead of a roommate during spring training.
The Associated Press obtained the document that includes several changes, many starting next year. Among them:
* Allowing teams from the same division to meet in the playoffs before the league championship series.
* A ban on players getting tattoos with corporate logos. "Just trying to head something off at the pass," said Rob Manfred, baseball's executive vice president for labor relations.
* The possibility of players wearing microphones during games.
Players have already ratified the hundreds of pages contained in Major League Baseball's Memorandum of Understanding. Owners are scheduled to vote tomorrow.
Also part of the deal: Any big-leaguer who wants to change uniform numbers without switching teams better give 8 months' notice unless he's willing to buy warehouses' full of his overstocked jerseys.
MLB wants to expand replay to include fair-or-foul calls, "whether a fly ball or line drive was trapped" and fan interference all around the ballpark. Umpires still must give their approval and it's uncertain whether the extra replay will be in place by Opening Day.
Video review began in August 2008, but only to look at potential home runs.
The All-Star break will be expanded to 4 days, rather than the traditional 3-day gap. The 5-year deal says starting in 2013 that MLB "shall have the right to elect to switch the All-Star Game from Tuesday to Wednesday and the Home Run Derby from Monday to Tuesday."
The deal also bans players and team officials from asking official scorers to reconsider decisions - clubs must instead send video to MLB to appeal calls - and increases punishments for slow-moving hitters and pitchers, raising pace-of-game fines up to $10,000 each for the sixth violation and beyond.
The deal includes a new schedule format starting in 2013, when there will be six five-team divisions, with no more than 20 interleague games per team. Teams will play 17 or 18 times against division opponents, with the exact format still to be worked out.
In other news:
* St. Louis second baseman Skip Schumaker agreed to a 2-year, $3 million deal.
* The Cardinals did not tender a contract offer to infielder Ryan Theriot, making their former starting shortstop a free agent. Among other players who were non-tendered are former All-Star pitchers Joe Saunders (Arizona) and Hong-Chih Kuo (Los Angeles Dodgers), Atlanta reliever Peter Moylan and Baltimore outfielder Luke Scott.
* Players association chief Michael Weiner says people should wait for all the facts before making conclusions about Milwaukee Brewers star Ryan Braun, who tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance and is appealing to an arbitrator. The case is not likely to be determined until next month at the earliest. Braun faces a 50-game suspension.