MLB owners, players ratify labor deal through 2021

NEW YORK (AP) Baseball owners and players have ratified the sport's new five-year collective bargaining agreement, extending their labor peace to 26 years through 2021.

The sides announced their approvals Wednesday, a day after holding votes in separate telephone meetings.

''This agreement allows us to build on the positive momentum from last season and promote a generation of young players,'' baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.

After eight work stoppages from 1972-95, the sides have negotiated deals without a strike or lockout in 2002, 2006, 2011 and this year. The new deal expires Dec. 1, 2021.

Teams voted 29-1 to approve, and Tampa Bay Rays managing general partner Stuart Sternberg was the lone dissenting vote, a person familiar with that meeting told The Associated Press. The person spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity because the vote breakdown was not announced.

While Sternberg declined to comment on the vote, he did express his views on the deal.

''I am thankful for the hard work, leadership, and spirit of compromise that were essential to this agreement coming together,'' he said in an email to the AP. ''However, twice a decade, the bargaining process provides an opportunity to address the extraordinary and widening competitive gap that exists on-field between higher and lower revenue clubs. I feel that opportunity was missed here.''

The union said its executive board unanimously ratified the Basic Agreement, Benefit Plan Agreement, Joint Drug Agreement and Joint Policy on Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse.

Former All-Star first baseman Tony Clark led the union's negotiations for the first time. He took over as executive director following the death of Michael Weiner in November 2013.

''The players' involvement during negotiations was both essential and unprecedented, and today's unanimous vote was the culmination of those efforts,'' Clark said in a statement. ''This was a team effort from beginning to end.''

Negotiators reached an agreement Nov. 30 in Irving, Texas, about 3+ hours before the expiration of the previous contract.

The deal raises the luxury tax thresholds, increases some of the tax rates, imposes a hard cap on signing bonuses for international amateurs and bans smokeless tobacco for players who do not already have major league service.

It also eliminates the provision that gave World Series home-field advantage to the All-Star winner and bans rookie hazing that includes costumes as women.

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