Major League Baseball
"Say this for big league baseball: it is beyond any question the greatest conversation piece ever invented in America." - Bruce Catton
Major League Baseball (MLB) is the highest level of play in professional baseball in the world. More specifically, Major League Baseball refers to the entity that operates North American professional baseball's two major leagues, the National League and the American League, by means of a joint organizational structure which has existed between them since 1903. On an organizational level, MLB effectively operates as a single "league", and as such it constitutes one of the major professional sports leagues of North America. A turning point in this direction came in 2000, when the separate league offices were abolished and the roster of umpires, once run by the leagues, was consolidated into a single major league roster of umpires.
Major League Baseball is governed by the Major League Baseball Constitution, an agreement that has undergone several incarnations since 1876 then called the NL Constitution, with the most recent revisions being made in 2005. Major League Baseball, under the direction of its Commissioner, Rob Manfred, hires and maintains the sport's umpiring crews, and negotiates marketing, labor, and television contracts. As is the case for most North American sports leagues, the 'closed shop' aspect of MLB effectively prevents the yearly promotion and demotion of teams into the Major League by virtue of their performance.
MLB as well maintains a unique, controlling relationship over the sport, including most aspects of minor league baseball. This is due in large part to a 1922 United States Supreme Court ruling in Federal Baseball Club v. National League which declared baseball is not considered interstate commerce (and therefore not subject to federal antitrust law), despite baseball's own references to itself as an "industry" rather than a "sport."
The production/multimedia wing of MLB is New York-based MLB Advanced Media, which oversees MLB.com and all 30 of the individual teams' websites. Its charter states that MLB Advanced Media holds editorial independence from the League itself, but it is indeed under the same ownership group and revenue-sharing plan. MLB Productions is a similarly-structured wing of the league, focusing on video and traditional broadcast media.
Current Major Leagues
The Major League regular season runs from late March or early April to late September or early October. Players and teams prepare for the season in spring training, primarily in Florida and Arizona, during February and March. Three rounds of playoffs follow the regular season, culminating in the World Series in late October or early November (see Baseball calendar for more details).
- Rocco Constantino: 50 Moments That Defined Major League Baseball, Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, MD, 2016. ISBN 978-1-4422-6054-2
- Robert F. Lewis II: Smart Ball: Marketing the Myth and Managing the Reality of Major League Baseball, University of Mississippi Press, Jackson, MS, 2009.
- Lincoln A. Mitchell: Will Big League Baseball Survive? Globalization, the End of Television, Youth Sports, and the Future of Major League Baseball, Temple University Press, Philadelphia, PA, 2016. ISBN 978-1-4399-1379-6