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Future of baseball at stake with owners, players set to meet

With a potential labor war looming, here are three talking points that could bring the two sides together when they sit down next week. AP Photo/David J. Phillip

Baseball has never needed cooperation and coordination between players and management more than in this time and place, macro and micro. During the American League Championship Series, for example, Boston's David Price tinkered with his arm angle while warming up in the bullpen in Game 4 and felt a difference in the quality of his pitches. In the midst of his start in the clinching Game 5 against the Astros, he asked the Red Sox staff to assess and confirm, through data, what he sensed.

Armed with positive feedback, Price rolled through six shutout innings. That's the kind of good stuff that can result from collaboration. But on so many other planes of conversation, there has been incredible disconnect -- on efforts to accelerate the pace of play, on social media execution, on business promotion, on financial issues, on the impact of analytics on the sport's action.

The general working relationship between the Major League Baseball Players Association and Major League Baseball might be at its worst in a couple of decades, the context for the first significant conversations between the two sides this offseason, scheduled to kick off next week.