Details of baseball's new labor deal were made available on Tuesday, including possible additions to the video replay guidelines, the format of the postseason, an extended All-Star break and other updates to player conduct and practices, The Associated Press reported.
Under the new agreement, the Division Series or the newly formatted tiebreaker could play each other. Previously, division champions and Wild Card winners from the same division could not square off prior to the League Championship Series regardless of their regular-season records. MLB has not decided if clubs tied for the last Wild Card spot will meet for an additional tiebreaking game, or whether the winner will be chosen by a statistical tiebreaker.
Questions about regular-season scheduling formats when baseball moves to two 15-team leagues in 2013 are moving closer to a solution. All 30 clubs in the six five-team divisions will play no more than 20 Interleague games, in addition to the 17 or 18 games played against divisional foes.
Clubs may no longer employ "taxi squads" -- a traditional practice of promoting Minor Leaguers, but not putting them on the active roster. Additionally, teams may only permit players to participate in offseason minicamps if they are not eligible for salary arbitration.
The pending additions to replay extend to fair-or-foul calls, to discern whether a ball was trapped and fan interference. These new guidelines are still subject to approval from MLB umpires, and may not be finalized for the start of the 2012 season. Currently, replay is only limited to home run calls.
Beginning in 2013, the All-Star break will be extended to four days from the current three-day pause. The labor deal also proposes that MLB will have the flexibility to change the date of the All-Star Game from Tuesday to Wednesday and slide the Home Run Derby to the preceding day. According to STATS LLC., 69 of the 82 All-Star Games have been played on Tuesday.
In addition to schedule adjustments and formatting, players will experience a number of notable changes.
Starting this spring, players on the 40-man roster will be entitled to private rooms during Spring Training rather than be required to room with a teammate. Players on the active roster have received that benefit during the regular season since 1997.
The new labor deal prohibits players from getting tattoos of corporate logos. Rob Manfred, MLB executive vice president for labor relations, acknowledged that players selling corporate ads on their bodies currently is not a hot-button issue. MLB is "just trying to head something off at the pass," Manfred told the AP.
Players must also be timely regarding their desire to switch uniform numbers. They must now inform the Commissioner's Office by July 31 of the preceding season if they wish to wear a new number. The only exemption is if the player, or a representative party, purchases all inventory of apparel and goods featuring his existing number.
MLB will also have greater authority to regulate player behavior on and off the field. Under the new deal, both hitters and pitchers who take excessive time may be subject to fines up to $10,000 for committing "pace-of-game" infractions, starting with his sixth violation.
Players may also be subject to suspensions for throwing game equipment with the purpose of inflicting harm at "non-uniformed personnel," including umpires, fans or members of the media. Additionally, players may be disciplined for publicly criticizing umpires, the Commissioner and the Commissioner's Office.
Off the field, the Commissioner's Office may discipline players who break federal, state or local laws, and for behavior "materially detrimental or materially prejudicial to the best interests of baseball."
The new deal also takes a swing at players' social media habits, and also demands players to keep publicly scribed nicknames on equipment to "not reasonably likely to offend fans, business partners, players and others associated with the game."
Players have already accepted the terms of Major League Baseball's Memorandum of Understanding. Owners are slated to vote Thursday.
Jon Star is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.